13c 1919 UNPACKING OF THE DOLL
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.
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.