party dress that hangs from the mannequin and tears the garment in two. The lights go out.
The stage is dark. The blue spotlight begins to illuminate the face of LOLITA, who appears seated at the dining room table.
LOLITA: (Without much feeling.) "That she may feel How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is To have a thankless child." King Lear, by William Shakespeare. (The blue spotlight goes out as the stage lights rise, illuminating the same apartment as in the first act. Day is breaking. DOLORES comes out of the bedroom and sits down at the dining table, where LOLITA is addressing the envelopes for the invitations, DOLORES maintains her usual enthusiastic air contrasting with her daughter's depressed manner. MACHITO is asleep on the sofa.)
DOLORES: (Softly, so as not to waken MACHITO.) Come on, princess, smile and stop complaining, for the love of God . . . You'll see that everything will turn out just perfect. And do your best with those invitations . . . make sure it's your best handwriting.
LOLITA: (Complaining.) But I've got so much homework to do, don't you think it's plain silly to waste all this time over a bunch of invitations for a party that's not even . . .?
DOLORES: (Ignoring her daughter rather than interrupting her on purpose.) The party comes first! Can't you get it through your head that it's a sacred promise I made to your father, God rest his soul! (Amused, in a confidential tone.) And what a party! Just think, Carmen told me that everyone's so excited about the invitations . . . even Ángela, you had to see the way she ran out of her beauty shop when I passed by yesterday afternoon . . . Guess what she said: