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Kokoschka is brought in on a stretcher. He is wounded. Reserl knocks on the door.

KOKOSCHKA   Who is it?!

RESERL   Did you call me, Captain?

KOKOSCHKA   Yes, Reserl, I did. Please come in and close the door behind you.

RESERL   Anything you say, Captain.

KOKOSCHKA   Reserl, I called you because I want to ask you a question. Listen carefully, and take your time before you answer. If you say »Yes« now, there will be no way back. – Do you want me to continue or should I stop now, and we’ll forget this conversation ever happened?

RESERL   Go on, Captain. Please go on.

KOKOSCHKA   Reserl, I am going to disclose to you a very intimate secret now.

RESERL   Oh! – Is it about the large package that  arrived this morning from Munich?

KOKOSCHKA   Did anyone talk to you about it? Did anybody say anything to you about it? Did Dr. Posse say anything?

RESERL   No, Captain, no one said anything.

KOKOSCHKA   Then how did you know it was about the package?

RESERL   I saw how excited you were when it arrived, Captain.

KOKOSCHKA   Reserl, I am  going to entrust you with an extraordinary task.

RESERL   Anything you say, Captain.

KOKOSCHKA   Can I trust you, Reserl? As much as I would trust myself?

RESERL   You can trust me much more than that, Captain.

KOKOSCHKA   Really? How is that possible, Reserl?

RESERL   You do not love yourself as much as… one could love you, Captain.

KOKOSCHKA   Reserl, I called you because I cannot open that package myself. It contains something very precious, something very valuable, that I've been longing to see for many weeks already, and I could hardly wait for it to arrive, and yet now I'm afraid to look at it. – You're probably thinking I must be crazy.

RESERL   No, Captain. Those feelings are not strange to me. I experience them every morning, before opening the door of your room to bring you your breakfast.

KOKOSCHKA   Reserl, do you feel capable of opening the package for me?

RESERL   You really want ME to open that package?


RESERL   Then I will do it.

KOKOSCHKA   I will close my eyes now, and you will open the package, you will look at it, and then you will tell me precisely what you see.

Kokoschka closes his eyes. Reserl walks over to the case and starts to untie the ropes, then to tear off the wrapping paper, and finally the naked case appears.

RESERL   Are you really sure you  want me to open it?

KOKOSCHKA   Yes, I am. Go on. Open it!

RESERL   Alright. I’ll open it!

Reserl opens the case and exclaims with horror and disgust.

RESERL   Ughghghgh!

KOKOSCHKA   What is it, Reserl? What’s the matter?

RESERL   What an ugly monster! That’s a… Is that supposed to be a woman?

KOKOSCHKA   Doesn't it look like one?

RESERL   I'm not sure.

KOKOSCHKA   Does it look… alive?

RESERL   No, she looks rotten. It’s dreadful!

KOKOSCHKA   How old is she?

RESERL   I don’t know, Captain. She could be 35 or 40 or... 60 or 70…

KOKOSCHKA   Describe her to me, please. In every detail. What does her head look like?

RESERL   She has a big head. A very big head. Big lines.

KOKOSCHKA   And her neck?

RESERL   It's thick.

KOKOSCHKA   And her belly?

RESERL   Her belly is bulging - like a balloon. And her breasts are… huge. And heavy.

KOKOSCHKA   Can her mouth be opened?

RESERL   Yes. Her mouth can be opened. Very wide.

KOKOSCHKA   And what's inside? Are there teeth, is there a tongue?

RESERL   Yes, she has a tongue… (checking it) but no teeth.

KOKOSCHKA   What a shame. I was hoping she would have. – Is she dressed or is she… naked?

RESERL   She is dressed.

KOKOSCHKA   What does her skin look like? The skin, is it... is it...

RESERL   It looks very unhealthy. Like some kind of skin disease. It reminds me of a polar-bear skin. I'm afraid it's wrinkled.

KOKOSCHKA   Can’t you be more precise?

RESERL   Well... It looks like she has fatty deposits under her skin, creating a revolting, irregular unevenness around her hips and buttocks. And the same is true for the skin on her arms and back…

KOKOSCHKA   Enough, Reserl! Enough… – Now let me ask me one last question, Reserl: What does her face look like? Her face… what’s the expression on her face?

RESERL   Her face is rigid. Severe. It is a travesty of… of a human expression. She seems… she seems to be mocking you.

KOKOSCHKA   Thank you. Reserl, would you also be willing to undress her now for me?

RESERL   Yes, of course, Captain.

KOKOSCHKA   Then, please, do it. And tell me when she’s ready.

Reserl takes off the puppet’s dress, supporting it discreetly from behind like a puppeteer. Then she hides behind the doll.

RESERL   I'm ready now, Captain. She is... exposed.

Kokoschka opens his eyes and stares at the doll. Reserl moves the doll in Kokoschka’s direction, and opens its arms to him. Kokoschka embraces the doll. Reserl cooperates, manipulating the doll with all the tenderness that she herself feels for Kokoschka. Music. They dance.