By Eric Peterson
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As it has annually since 1999, Schaumburg-based Powerhouse Productions will present an original play this month demonstrating the relevance of Black History Month, particularly for young people.
This year's presentation, "The Detention Club," tackles the universal issue of bullying by relating it to inspirational chapters from American history, fourth-time writer-director Maurice Proffit said.
"Whenever we do a show, we always want to send a positive message home with the audience," Proffit said.
"The Detention Club" is described as a family-friendly comedy, albeit with splashes of drama, that will play on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 22 at Schaumburg's Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court.
While the main play runs from 7 to 9 p.m., Proffit encourages ticketholders to arrive by 6:15 p.m. to have the total experience -- the supporting vendors and silent auction in the lobby, and the preshow that begins at 6:30 p.m.
The plot of the show revolves around group of students in detention, much like the film, "The Breakfast Club," and contains many contemporary pop culture references. It's expected to be of particular interest to junior high and high school students, as well as their parents. The characters in the play are students with whom this age group can identify, Proffit said.
"Each student has a story about what brought them to detention, and a very dynamic personality," he added.
Proffit said bullying has always existed, and is something with which every generation can relate. But only recently has society begun to truly address it and its psychological effects, he said.
Most of the diverse cast are young actors between the ages of 12 and 18, Powerhouse Productions also provides roles for adults between 20 and 40.
Proffit, whose mother Valerie Profit began Powerhouse Productions, said he finds his cast in all sorts of ways -- social media, fliers at Schaumburg-area schools and even from among the audiences of earlier shows.
"Every year, people tell us they want to be involved on our stage the next year," Proffit said.
Though Powerhouse Productions has largely focused on the annual Black History Month show, Proffit said he would like to start doing other projects at different times of the year.
Tickets for "The Detention Club" are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. To purchase tickets, visit prairiecenter.org or call (847) 895-3600.
For more information about Powerhouse Productions, visit its Facebook page at powerhouseproductions99.