‘A Ro-Me-Owe and Jew-Liet Revival (New Reading)’, The Bulletin, 17 November 1904
Balcony scene, Bulletin cartoons, economy, Her Majesty’s Theatre, I.O.U., James C. Williamson (1845-1913), Livingston Hopkins aka ‘Hop’ (1846-1927), loan, Miss Tittell Brune (1875-1974), New South Wales, NSW State loans, Romeo and Juliet, satire, Sir Joseph Carruthers (1856-1932), state politics, Sydney Morning Herald, William Shakespeare (c.1564-1616), usury.
‘Hop’ produced this Bulletin cartoon at a time when J. C. Williamson’s theatre company was staging William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Sydney. The popular young American actress Miss Tittell Brune was in the starring role, with Mr R. A. Greenaway as Romeo and Mr Roy Redgrave (patriarch of the famous English acting family) as Mercutio (See The Sydney Morning Herald, Nov 12, 1904, p. 2. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/1329960?) Judging from reviews written at the time, Miss Brune’s “charming” balcony performance was hugely successful (See, for example, The Sydney Morning Herald, Nov 16, 1904, p. 2. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/1330003?). So, Hop’s cartoon was not only timely but also bound to raise a laugh or a smile of recognition from Sydney theatre-goers. The NSW government was barely into its fifth month of office, and Sir Joseph Carruthers − who was both premier and treasurer − had inherited the difficult task of dealing with accumulated State debts. The Sydney Morning Herald calculated that NSW owed around £4,310,000, to be paid-off over thirty years (The Sydney Morning Herald, October 10, 1904, p. 6. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/1329596?). Subsequently, Hop depicts premier Carruthers fawning and gesticulating to a bored and stereotypically Jewish financier. In the background, three spheres suspended in the night sky represent usury. Hop’s critique of the NSW economy is clearly designed to keep the matter firmly under continuous (and sceptical) public scrutiny.
Livingston Hopkins (â€˜Hopâ€™)
17 November 1904, Cover