"To frack, or not to frack, that is the question." Well, that's not the way Hamlet said it, but it will give you an idea of the verbal slings and arrows you're likely to hear in "Fractured Shakespeare," a comedy that opens Thursday evening in Renegade Park at Bakersfield College.
Director Randy Messick refers to the play as Shakespeare vaudeville.
"It's fractured because it isn't quite what Shakespeare had in mind, other than entertaining an audience, that is," he said. "The writers of the piece are Shakespeare, myself and the actors."
Overall, it's designed for present-day audiences who aren't familiar with the Bard's works. In addition to Messick, cast members are Cody Ganger, Kevin Ganger, Matt Mizell, Lindsay Book and Eric Dains.
"In our attempt to make his plays and characters more accessible to this modern audience," he explained, "we send them up in what we hope will be a hysterically funny entertainment."
"Fractured," one of two plays being presented in this year's Kern Shakespeare Festival, will be performed again on Oct. 19.
The festival opened Wednesday with "Henry V," which can be seen again on Friday and Sunday, and Oct. 16, 18 and 20.
As with previous editions of the festival, the actors include professionals in addition to students.
Shakespeare's history play about an English king's 15th century invasion of France is a drama with plenty of action -- especially the sword fights -- and propelled by a range of emotions.
"'Henry V is such a wonderful play because, like the other plays in this (series) it has such a wide range of theatrical elements," Messick said. "Comedy, tragedy, romance, action, and amazing language."
Among the well-known quotes are "Once more unto the breach, dear friends," and "(We) ... shall be remembered, we few, we happy few, we band of brothers."
Those playing lead roles are Mizell as Henry V; Kim Chin, who also teaches acting at BC, as the Queen of France; Bob Kempf as Fluellen; and McKenna Moses as Katherine. Festival conducts Shakespear-iment with satire