This is confusing: The bearded lady, whoever he/she is, looks more feminine with the beard than without, that is to say he/she looks more feminine BEFORE Curly has clipped him/her. One of the puzzles is the voice...he/she seems to have a true female voice, aggressive though it may be - if it's a female-impersonator's voice, it's a virtuosic one, with many natural-sounding variations in pitch and emotion as she plays the comic seduction scene with Curly. How about this theory: the actor/actress with the beard, who speaks, is not the same actor/actress shown after the shearing. That post-shearing actor/actress does not speak, looking more or less like he/she is emerging from some sort of coma ( why, I don't know, since one rarely has that reaction from a shave. )
What do you think about this: The bearded lady is an actress with a beard pasted on, and the shorn lady is a male actor who ( take a second look ) doesn't look all that much like the actress playing the bearded lady.
Sorry about all the he/she slashes, I don't know how to make it any plainer.
I have a couple of other tweaks on this scenario, but this is scenario A.