Wekiva High School puts on socially distanced production of ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’

Actors recorded in front of green screens

Students at Wekiva High School found a way to perform a musical while social distancing.

APOPKA, Fla. – Wekiva High School just put on a socially distanced production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

The production was a collaboration of the drama, chorus, digital arts and TV production departments. Because of the pandemic, the school canceled last year’s spring production due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but teachers and students wanted to make sure to have one this year.

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“We have always had a commitment to providing a safe environment for students to create and perform. And this year, the definition of what it means to be safe has changed. We kind of had to go that extra mile for keeping our students safe and audience members safe,” chorus teacher Jamie-Leigh Bartschi said.

The production streamed online. Actors recorded their scenes in front of a green screen in separate rooms. Interactions among the actors and reaction shots were recorded on video calls and both virtual and face-to-face students worked on the musical.

Student Caitlin White played Linus. She said they recorded a scene with a blanket in front of a green screen, to make it appear as if Linus’ blanket was dancing.

Senior Sergio Ramirez was a LaunchEd student this year.

“I just realized doing productions is pretty easy because you don’t have to do it live only because you don’t have stage fright. You just have to record it and that’s it,” Ramirez said.

White agreed that the experience allowed her to spend quality time with her peers while still learning from home.

“I was a LaunchEd kid, so I was home most of the time away from my classmates. So the time we got to rehearse and just be around each other and create art was really amazing,” White said. “It was very fun but challenging to make sure your voice was in sync with the video, that was challenging at times, but we got it done.”

Theater teacher Krista Amico said the arts departments have always worked well together, but the pandemic has forced staff and students to learn new ways to create.

“We hooked up a Bluetooth speaker and connected all the speakers at the same time. We did the audio recording separately and then we did the video. Then they recorded the visuals. And then like Caitlin said, everyone learned how to edit...and they layered in the vocals and the visuals,” Amico said.

The students gathered together to watch their production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” together in the school auditorium earlier this month.

About the Author:

Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.