Doctor Syntax at Covent Garden Theatre

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Item Description: 

Dr. Syntax finally makes his way to London, twenty years after his last visit, and decides to spend a night at the theater. Once seated in the pit, Dr. Syntax examines the architecture of the house in a failed attempt to find the picturesque. However, the setting of his studied gaze during the performance of a play recontextualizes it as an errant one, for Dr. Syntax does not pay any attention to the actors on stage: he conspicuously faces the stage but is actually gazing high up at the house itself. Morevoer, he does not participate in the fashionable spectatorship of viewing the audience. This mode of spectatorship is made available to to us, however, in the wide view we have of the boxes as well as the stage. Thus, the viewer is offered the full array of spectatorships available at the theatre. Dr. Syntax’s search for the picturesque in the absurd setting of the theater plays into his habit of errant spectatorship and his larger quixotic quest.