With prep school standing in for Italy, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is Friday

Actors rehearse a Boston Theater Co. Teen Touring Troupe production of “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Boston Theater Co.’s Teen Touring Troupe brings a free production of Shakespeare’s comedic romp “Much Ado About Nothing” to town Friday, with some tweaks.

Instead of taking place in Messina, Italy, it takes place at the prestigious Messina Prep boarding school. And all of the machinations of the play itself – in which Claudio falls in love with Hero and helps the bickering Beatrice and Benedick fall in love too, unaware Don John is plotting against them – has been transposed to make sense for actors in grades seven to 12.

The Boston Theater Co. (which gave “Much Ado” an update for adult performers last fall), says of this youth variation on the classic tale:

This story features healthy doses of gossip, cruel plots, first love, backstabbing, name-calling, visits to the principal, all-star athletes, a high school dance and, yes, hall monitors.

The updated, abbreviated play is recommended for ages 8 and up. It will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday at the Community Art Center, 119 Windsor St., in The Port neighborhood. After visits to Charlestown, Brookline and Belmont, the show appears at 3 p.m. May 14 at The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville.

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