We guess this act is supposed to introduce Macabéa, a poor, hungry, ugly, lonely, and naïve nineteen-year-old girl living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But really, it mostly seems to be about the narrator having Deep Thoughts about life and how it's so hard to write this story.
Act II begins when Macabéa meets her jerk boyfriend, Olímpico. They have lots of painful conversations when he basically calls her an idiot, and eventually he breaks up with her to hook up with her co-worker.
Macabéa visits a fortuneteller and gets the good news that everything is about to change for the better. Awesome! As she leaves, full of hope and expectation, a big yellow Mercedes mows her down. She dies a protracted and lonely death. Ugh.