[[quoteright:289:[[Creator/PeterSellers http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/LoadsAndLoadsOfRoles_6451.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:289:EddieMurphy wasn't the first.]]
->''“Oh look how great and funny I am. I don’t even need anyone else. I could make an entire movie where I play all the parts and you would love it because I am Tyler Perry; the God of comedy!”''
-->-- '''[[WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment Miles Antwiler]]''' [[http://moviemoses.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/diary-of-a-mad-black-woman-darren-grant-2005/ on]] ''DiaryOfAMadBlackWoman''

There's ActingForTwo. Then there's acting for twenty.

This is where one actor plays a considerable number of roles in a single work (we are not counting Sketch shows).

This is primarily a theatre trope, where it requires the ability to perform pretty rapid costume changes. If the character itself does this, then they're a MasterOfDisguise.

For the animated equivalent, see TalkingToHimself. YouLookFamiliar is this trope carried over the life of a TV Series. YouALLLookFamiliar is the video game character model equivalent. Compare with ManOfAThousandFaces. May or may not involve SignificantDoubleCasting.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertising]]
* A 2001 TV advert for the Yellow Pages in NewZealand featured Joel Tobeck (of [[HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys Hercules & Xena]], and later SonsOfAnarchy, fame) as not just himself, but also a taxi driver, a security guard, a fashion model, and an army of department store assistants.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/KindHeartsAndCoronets''. Alec Guinness plays eight different characters, two of whom are father and son, and one of whom is a woman.
** A [[TheBBC BBC]] {{Radio}} remake had Harry Enfield reprising all of Guinness's roles.
* Creator/PeterSellers did this a lot.
** The most famous example is ''DoctorStrangelove'', wherein he plays the title character, Gen. Ripper's British adjutant and the U.S. president. He was originally intended to play the bomber pilot as well, but he A) allegedly had a dubious time with the accent and/or B) sprained an ankle and could not work in the cramped cockpit set, so the role went to Slim Pickens. Columbia Pictures only agreed to finance the film on condition that Sellers play multiple roles.
** In ''Literature/TheMouseThatRoared'', Sellers plays Tully, Lord Mountjoy, and Grand Duchess Gloriana of [[{{Ruritania}} Grand Fenwick]]. This is explained (and {{Lampshaded}}) by the disclaimer at the beginning of the movie that the First Grand Duke was "in every possible sense, the Father of His Country" (and indeed, his memorial statue looks exactly like Peter Sellers).
** The page image is from 1973's ''Soft Beds, Hard Battles''.
** In 1979's comic version of ''ThePrisonerOfZenda'', he plays King Rudolf V, commoner lookalike Syd Frewin, and (in the opening sequence) the just-about-to-die King Rudolf IV. It's implied that Syd and Rudolf V are half-brothers.
** The biopic ''Film/TheLifeAndDeathOfPeterSellers'' has Geoffrey Rush not only playing Sellers and his characters, but also suggests Sellers is directing it and playing everyone else in the film by sometimes stopping the action and revealing, say, Creator/BlakeEdwards (JohnLithgow) to be played by Rush-as-Sellers, and commenting to the viewer on Sellers' behavior.
** And then there's his roles on radio -- it was said that he played so many parts on TheGoonShow that whenever he was sick or unable to perform it took multiple actors to sub for him!
* Creator/TimBurton's film of ''Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'', where one actor (Creator/DeepRoy) plays ''all'' the Oompa-Loompas through the miracle of CGI.
* Any ''Creator/MontyPython'' film, for all six of the Pythons involved--although [[StraightGay Graham Chapman]] usually had relatively few roles, due to being the relative StraightMan and thus usually playing the central characters.
** Creator/TerryGilliam also tended to have fewer roles since his primary talent was making the animated sequences and he wasn't much of an actor. He was mostly relegated to non-speaking roles or parts that involved a cackling lunatic.
* MikeMyers playing the role of several key characters in the ''AustinPowers'' franchise.
** In the first film he played only Austin and Dr. Evil, but picked up the roles of Fat Bastard and Goldmember in the sequels.
* In ''Film/ComingToAmerica'', EddieMurphy and Arsenio Hall play several different roles, including white or female characters.
** EddieMurphy is doing this a lot more nowadays.
* ''Film/TheLeagueOfGentlemen'', in which, as the ads put it, "three guys don the shoes and dresses of an entire town."
* Creator/JackBlack's character from ''Film/TropicThunder'' made a career out of this.
** In one surprisingly inspired scene Creator/RobertDowneyJr.'s character has an emotional breakdown that causes him to progressively remove his make up. At each stage he takes on a different accent and personality.
* In ''Film/{{Clerks}}'', several actors play multiple small roles. Given the late hours and low pay, many of those cast simply failed to show up, so Smith would have anyone who happened to be around step in. David Klein (the cinematographer) and Walter Flanagan get hit the hardest with this, with five and four roles respectively.
* Creator/BusterKeaton's silent comedy ''ThePlayhouse'' (1921) opens with a scene in which ''every character'' at a theatrical performance - actors, stagehands, musicians, audience members , a twelve-man minstrel show - is played by Keaton, impressive both for Keaton's skill and for the technical aspects of pulling something like this off so early in film history. It's even lampshaded when one of the Keatons remarks to another, "This fellow Keaton seems to be the whole show."
* ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' (1939) had Frank Morgan playing five different roles: The Wizard, Mr. Marvel, a gatekeeper in Emerald City, a carriage driver, and a guard in the Wizard's palace.
* The 1971 adaptation of NeilSimon's ''Plaza Suite'' had Walter Matthau playing a different character in each of the film's three acts.
** The original Broadway production had George C. Scott and Maureen Stapleton appearing as different characters in all three acts, while a 1987 made-for-TV version had Carol Burnett playing three different roles.
* Creator/FredAstaire does this in ''TheManInTheSantaClausSuit''. (Although technically [[spoiler: they are all the same guy. Guess who..]])
* In the Japanese VHS/DVD dub of ''ForrestGump'', KatsuhisaHoki voices over the Doctor, Alabama Governor George Wallace and President UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson.
* Tony Randall in "TheSevenFacesOfDrLao" plays Dr. Lao, various acts in his circus, and a brief moment as a spectator.
* Some movies and other works made by the Swedish comedy group ''Galenskaparna & After Shave''.
** In ''Leif'' the seven members plays a total of 37 characters. Kerstin Granlund the only woman play seven of them.
** In ''Stinsen brinner... filmen alltså'' they play 23 different characters. Most notable is Kerstin Granlund who play five and Per Fritzell who play seven (including the statue of ''the eternal traveler'').
* Denis Lavant plays eleven roles in ''Film/HolyMotors''.
* Every actor in the film adaptation of ''CloudAtlas'' plays multiple roles in order to get across the concept of reincarnation (the story spans six different periods of history). Many of the roles are in different genders and races; Halle Berry, for instance, plays a Maori slave in the 1800s, a Jewish German woman in the 1930s, a 1970's news reporter, an Indian woman in the present day, an old Korean man in the future of 2144, and a woman from a futuristic society in a post-apocalyptic storyline.
* In ''Film/TradingMom'', Sissy Spacek plays four roles: The actual mother of the kids, and each mother the kids choose to replace her.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action Television ]]

* Irish comedy ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killinaskully Killinascully]]'' has its writer PatShortt play five major characters (one of whom is female), frequently appearing in the same scene as himself.
* There are five actors who have played seven or more different characters over the course of various ''[[Franchise/StarTrek Star Treks]]'': Vaughn Armstrong, Thomas Kopache, Creator/JeffreyCombs, J.G. Hertzler, and Randy Oglesby. Most of them started out playing a series of one-shot characters, then were given frequent recurring characters of their own. Jeffrey Combs was even supposedly going to make the [[PromotionToOpeningTitles jump to actual cast member]], but ''Enterprise'' was canceled a season too soon.
** Honorable mention to MajelBarrett for playing several major characters: Number One (original pilot), Nurse Christine Chapel (Original Series), Lwaxana Troi (Next Generation), and Federation starship computers from ''TNG'' onward, including ''Enterprise'' (one-episode cameo) and the latest movie. This makes her the only person to be involved in every incarnation of the franchise. Of course, she ''was'' Gene Rodenberry's wife.
*** Technically, Robert Picardo should be on that list. He has played dozens of ''different'' incarnations of the Emergency Medical Hologram. (Identical in that they have the original base program, but different in that they have had different life experiences, if only subtly.) Not to mention playing the designer of the EMH, and a few holograms that aren't [=EMHs=], but ''look'' like the EMH.
*** And then there's Brent Spiner, who's played three different Soong-type androids (Data, Lore, and B-4) and two different Soongs (Noonien and Arik). The crowning achievement is in the episode "Brothers", where he plays Data, Lore, and Noonien Soong in the same scene ''at the same time'' (with the help of ChromaKey, of course).
* On ''TheMightyBoosh'', dozens of prominent - and minor - characters are played by Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt and Rich Fulcher. Fielding (as well as playing the major character of Vince Noir) fills notable roles such as the Hitcher, the Moon, Old Gregg, Tony Harrison, Montgomery Flange, the Spirit of Jazz and Spider Dijon. Barratt (who plays Howard Moon) also plays Rudy van [=DiSarzio=], the Crack Fox, Mr Susan, Dennis the Shaman, Bryan Ferry, Sandstorm, and Jurgen Haabermaaster. Rich Fulcher, who is best known for playing Bob Fossil, has given ''many'' other very memorable performances over the course of the series, including Lester Corncrake, Kodiak Jack, Tommy the Cheese Priest, the Ape of Death, The Betamax Bandit, Alan (the Blue King of Xooberon) and "Eleanor", among others.
** Dave Brown really deserves a mention too. Although his only recurring roles are Bollo the gorilla and Joey Moose, he plays a fair few minor parts - Black Frost, the break-dancing Mutant, Naan Bread, Extreme Sports Calender etc.
* Before becoming famous with ''TheRedGreenShow'', Steve Smith and his wife Morag produced a Canadian sketch comedy show called ''Smith and Smith'', which aired in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Due to the show's very low budget, among other reasons, Steve and Morag played the majority of the roles themselves.
* Peter Kay in ''PhoenixNights''
* ''{{Mega 64}}''. The six main characters are played by three actors (two characters each), and there are a few regular recurring actors who almost always play different characters in each appearance.
* In the Japanese Nippon TV dub of the ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' saga, Creator/KenjiNojima voices over Jasper Hail, Caius and Jared.
* ''Series/DickAndDomInDaBungalow'': the multi-talented Dave Chapman and Ian Kirkby played tens of characters each- all kinds of impressions ([[FormulaOne Murray Walker]], Creator/BruceForsyth, [[TheCrystalMaze Richard O'Brien]], [[MorecambeAndWise Eric Morecambe]]...) and also original creations like [[UsefulNotes/BritishCoppers Harry Batt]]. Melvin O'Doom had slightly fewer characters, but was also an all-purpose dancer. Even the hosts also played several recurring charaters each.
* In [[JulPaaVesterbro Jul På Vesterbro]], Music/AndersMatthesen plays every single character who has talking roles in more than one episode. In other words, he plays 11 main and recurring characters, 3 one/two episode characters as well a cameo AsHimself.
* Child entertainer and comedian Koz played every single role on the Koz Zone which ran between shows.
* In ''Film/TheStarWarsHolidaySpecial'', close to half the roles are played by [[Series/TheCarolBurnettShow Harvey Korman]].
* The starring cast of ''Series/HorribleHistories'' all play multiple roles, some reoccurring across five series. The same performers play multiple parts in their own series, ''{{Yonderland}}''.
* On ''Series/OrphanBlack'', Tatiana Maslany plays Sarah Manning along with upwards of 7 other clones.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop RPG ]]

* If your TabletopRPG has a lot of {{NPC}}s in it, your GameMaster will have to either enlist help playing them all, or else just play them all himself.
* With each member having access to at least four characters in MarvelsRPG, odds are that they will end up with this.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]

* This trope taken to the extreme can be found in the theatrical adaptation of John Buchan's ''Literature/TheThirtyNineSteps.'' The show has over 100 roles. There are four actors.
-->'''BigBad:''' *is shot, with Hannay, a police officer and the girl looking on* There was only supposed to be a cast of ''four!''
** The lead man plays one role, the lead woman plays four, and the remaining two actors play ''all of the other roles'' between the two of them. HilarityEnsues, as does much switching of hats, when four or five of these characters are in the same scene. It prides itself in {{lampshading}} everything about this trope.
* Another impressive example is ''TheLaramieProject'', wherein eight actors play over seventy different roles total.
* ''AngelsInAmerica'', which is also written to be performed by eight actors, specifically states in its ''dramatis personae'' that certain lead characters double for certain supporting characters, with the actresses playing Hannah and the Angel with the highest total role count. Memorably, Meryl Streep in the television adaptation.
* Creator/PatrickStewart once did a one-man version of ''Literature/AChristmasCarol''. No costume changes of course.
** In the 2009 CGI film, Jim Carrey plays no less than eight roles, including all ages of Scrooge and all three spirits. In this case, it overlaps with TalkingToHimself.
** In the 1970 musical film, Albert Finney also played the adolescent/young adult Scrooge.
** ACT Theatre's annual production also does this, with some actors playing up to four or five roles.
* The various Greater Tuna plays have most or maybe even all of the inhabitants of a very small (fictional) Texas town played by only two guys.
* Every performance by the ReducedShakespeareCompany, whose plays consist of three actors performing "abridged" versions of large bodies of work.
* The play ''Stones in His Pockets'', where two people played every role. With a few boxes as their only props.
* The Broadway version of ''{{RENT}}'' has very distinctive-looking actors that together play all of the extras. In some scenes (like "Christmas Bells") the costume changes are fast enough and thorough enough to make it look like there are three times as many of them as there actually are.
* ''I Am My Own Wife'' is a one-man play with the sole actor playing more than forty different roles. However, many of them have only a few lines, and there are no costume changes--all of them are performed in the main character's (Charlotte von Mahlsdorf) black dress and pearls.
* At one point, a production of ''TheImportanceOfBeingEarnest'' was staged with two actors. In the final scenes, they resorted to wearing both dresses and suits while holding umbrellas: they'd open the umbrellas to block the suits when playing women, and close them again when playing men.
* Anna Deveare Smith does this for the play/film ''TwilightLosAngeles''.
* The Broadway musical ''Theatre/TheTwentyFifthAnnualPutnamCountySpellingBee'' has only nine actors in its entirety. The nine actors each have a main role, and double for 13 others. Often, the actors assume their other roles by unzipping vests, moving their hair, or merely changing their voices.
* ''TheMysteryOfIrmaVep'' (not to be confused with the film ''IrmaVep''): two actors (who are contractually obligated to be the same sex to insure that there ''will be crossdressing''), 8 characters, 60 quick costume changes ''each'' in the course of a show that only runs 100 minutes. Anyone who has worked on this show will freely admit that the dressers for the actors are as vital to success as the actors themselves.
* The play ''A Dream Play'' (originally ''Ett Drömspel'') by Swedish playwright August Strindberg is, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin as the title suggests]], AllJustADream. As such, nobody reacts to the fact that several characters are played by the same few actors, because it makes perfect sense in the dream.
* Productions of ''Theatre/{{Chicago}}'' may or may not involve supporting actors playing multiple roles, depending on their resources, but there's one that is explicitly required by the script: during Roxie's big trial scene, all twelve members of the jury are to be portrayed by a single actor.
* The Canadian classic ''Billy Bishop Goes To War''. One actor, eight characters, not including the "narrator" who also provides musical accompaniment.
* There is a stage version of ''AroundTheWorldInEightyDays'' that was written for four men and one woman. The official character count is 39. "Actor 5" only plays Phileas Fogg, but his lack of roles is made up for by "Actor 1," who plays 16.
* Another Neil Simon play, the musical adaptation of the Patrick Dennis novel ''Little Me'', was produced on Broadway in 1962 with Creator/SidCaesar playing seven characters.
* Subverted in {{Seussical}}. [[TheNarrator The Cat in the Hat]] appears as different roles throughout the show, but he's still The Cat in the Hat.
* [[http://www.book-it.org/ Book-It's]] 2011 play of ''Literature/GreatExpectations'' had but 9 actor (save for a couple uncredited stage hands), most of them playing dual roles, in addition to minor characters/extras. Even better was their play of ''Literature/TheSecretGarden'', which used only three actors, with several {{cross cast role}}s.
* In the Hugh Wheeler version of ''{{Candide}}'', the actor playing the narrator (Voltaire) also plays Pangloss and a few other characters, and has to perform quick costume changes with no time to duck offstage.
* All minor characters in Theatre/LittleShopOfHorrors are played by the same actor, according to the official script.
* In ''First Date'', the four ensemble actors, as well as the waiter, play all of the {{flashback}} characters, with on-stage costume changes.
* In certain productions of ''Theatre/{{Parade}}'' that involve smaller casts will inevitably involve actors who play multiple roles.
* Eric Overmyer's Theatre/OnTheVerge has four actors: three women play one character each, and one man plays everyone else. He ends up playing eight separate characters: [[ImAHumanitarian Alphonse]], [[AbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder Grover]], [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti the Yeti]], [[{{Beatnik}} the Gorge Troll]], [[{{Psychopomp}} Mr. Coffee]], [[InscrutableOriental Madame Nhu]], [[JiveTurkey Gus]], and [[LoungeLizard Nicky Paradise]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Quite common in Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.
** Creator/DougWalker is, among others, the WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic, [[WebVideo/BumReviews Chester A Bum]], WebVideo/AskThatGuyWithTheGlasses, [[WebVideo/VideoGameConfessions Dominic the Bartender]], [[WebVideo/DemoReel Donnie DuPre]], [[StrawFan Douchey]] [[ThisLoserIsYou McNitpick]], [[Creator/HunterSThompson Raoul Puke]], [[Franchise/{{Superman}} General Zod]], [[Series/LostInSpace Dr. Smith]], and [[Film/TheRoom Tommy Wiseau]] ([[OldShame along with Melvin, Brother of the Joker and Emo Jones]]).
** [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara]] also plays Mechakara, 90s Kid, Ensign Munroe, Dr. Linksano, Harvey Finevoice, Cable, Boffo the clown and the Ninja-Style Dancer.
** NoahAntwiler/[[WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment Spoony]] plays *inhales* Dr. Insano, Chef Ramsay, [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII Squall Leonhart]], Franchise/FuManchu, Spencer D. Bum, the [[Wrestling/UltimateWarrior Ultimate Spoony]], [[Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean Cap'n Smiling Jack D'Arcy]], the [[TabletopGame/{{Atmosfear}} Gate Cleaner]], [[Wrestling/HulkHogan Hulk Spogan]], [[Film/BattlefieldEarth Terl]], "Spoonette", Spoontock! of the [[Franchise/StarTrek Klingon Empire]], [[Franchise/{{Ultima}} Chuckles the Fucking Jester]], [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX Tidus]] and [[CrosscastRole Yuna]], [[FinalFantasyXIII Snow]] and [[Franchise/{{Ultima}} The Goddamn Avatar]].
*** The three cross-over Comicbook/{{Warrior}} reviews between WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall and WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment all involve shifts between various versions of Linkara and Spoony for most scene shifts in the film footage. ''Some'' of those alternate versions are played by other actors. Many aren't.
** Creator/BradJones is WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob, WebVideo/KungTaiTed, Vic Dealio of "The Big Box" and WebVideo/EightiesDan.
** Podcast/TheChestnutHillImprovGroup is only three people, two of whom do a lot of voices between them.
* In RedVsBlue, Burnie Burns plays Church, Lopez, Vic, and a number of smaller roles, including Omega, the Red Zealot, and most of the AIs in season 6.
* With the rare exception most of the many characters on WebVideo/EatYourKimchi are played by Simon and Martina.
* ''Website/{{Cracked}}'''s [[http://www.cracked.com/article_19369_the-6-most-mind-blowing-ways-your-brain-can-malfunction.html The 6 Most Mind-Blowing Ways Your Brain Can Malfunction]] mentions the "Fregoli delusion" that several distinct people that someone meets are one person who quickly changes clothes, named after a stage actor famous for quickly changing into different costumes.
[[/folder]]
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