SEATTLE - A Seattle contemporary arts center is staging the Kennewick High School drama department's production of "The Breakfast Club," after the school's principal decided it was too racy and banned it.

"This is far too overprotective on the part of the school district," said Matthew Richter, executive director of the center, Consolidated Works. "These are high school kids, and they put a tremendous amount of work into this thing."

"The Breakfast Club," a stage adaptation of John Hughes' 1985 film, is about five students from disparate cliques - the jock, the goth, the cheerleader, the dweeb and the dropout - learning during a Saturday in detention that they have more in common than they ever thought. Together, they rebel against the overbearing, oafish principal.

Nov. 21, Principal Jack Anderson of Kennewick High pulled the plug on the show after its second performance. He said the "explicit language and sexual innuendoes violated school district policies." The students, had rehearsed the play two hours a day after school for roughly three months.

"To me, this is very much about dealing directly with the students and enforcing this idea that you can get around censorship," Richter said. "Censorship is not the death of discourse."

Conworks heard about the story through David Schmader, who writes a week-in-review column for the alternative Seattle weekly The Stranger. Schmader said Friday that when he heard about the cancellation, he "just thought about how cool it would be to save it."

He called his friend Richter, who agreed it was a good idea and called the school's drama coach, Russ Wodehouse.

"I thought that Conworks proposing it to them was better than the druggie homosexual newspaper calling up and saying, 'Hey, can we borrow your kids for the weekend?"' Schmader said.

Conworks will put on the show next Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night in its main stage auditorium, which seats 150. Tickets are $14 for the general public, $7 for Kennewick High students and parents.

The production will cost roughly $5,000, Richter said, with Conworks providing technical support and box office help. The Stranger is providing free advertising.

The budget includes travel and lodging for the actors and parents who have agreed to chaperone, as well as $50 daily allowances for food and incidentals. Any profits will be distributed among the cast.

"We didn't want to give the money to Kennewick High School," Richter said.

A woman who answered the phone in the principal's office said Anderson was not available for comment Friday.

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