By Kerry Alsheimer
The Brazen-Faced Varlets: Buffalo’s Progressive Feminist Theater Company. What does that even mean? The Varlets came together back in 2006, as the brainchild of Lara Haberberger, Heather Fansgrud and Kelly Beuth with some pretty big goals in mind. The trio wanted to see more complex roles in theater for women, to produce work that focused on political issues affecting women, and to raise awareness and funds for charities and organizations that provide needed services for women.
The Brazen-Faced Varlets wasted no time in working their way toward these goals, as their first production of Ramona and Juliet (a clever reimagining of a certain classic Shakespearian work) took place that summer as part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival.
Since then, the company has performed over 25 productions, some of which were entirely written and produced by the Brazen-Faced Varlets. Each season includes an exploration, for which cast members are invited to write a vignette about a person or topic that gets woven into a larger story.
The Varlets ended their 2014 season in May with “The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women” written by Carolyn Gage, which explored the betrayal of Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia while she was being cared for in a mental asylum after the massacre of her family in Ekaterinburg.
Since the inception of the Brazen-Faced Varlets, the company has performed out of many different locations, but mainly the back room at Rust Belt Books. This has been a great home to many productions, and the upcoming season includes a production at the American Repertory Theater as well as Empire State College in Cheektowaga. Gratefully, the Varlets are growing – in talent, complexity of productions, as well as fandom. The company is looking to get into a bigger space to call their very own.
To help in this endeavor, the Brazen-Faced Varlets will be hosting a Bar Party at Gypsy Parlor this Saturday, August 23rd, starting at 8PM. The event will feature various musical performances by the Brazen-Faced Varlets themselves, along with music by Tiny Rhymes, Megan Callahan, The Distillery Boys. A $5 cover charge includes appetizers, drink specials, and a chance to win a door prize. Basket and 50/50 Raffles will also take place.
This event is a wonderful opportunity to support a burgeoning theater company with a very important mission, to celebrate women and to highlight issues affecting women – and the larger community – every day. For more information on the Brazen-Faced Varlets, check out www.varlets .org or www.facebook.com/brazenfaced.varlets.