Plays and Players at Pillot's Opera House
Mr. [Charles] Barron as the Ghost and Mr. [Charles] Hanford as
Horatio were well up in their parts. Other members of the company
were not the best--but maybe did not look so well because they were
with the superlatively grand Booth.
Lawrence Barrett apparently never felt that Houston audi-
ences sufficiently understood his efforts; or perhaps he merely
thought the small Pillot stage cramped him too much. Certainly
his visits to the city were always brief. It had long been a notable
if not puzzling matter to critics that Barrett would elect to play
Cassius-commonly regarded as the least appealing of the three
best acting parts in Julius Caesar-and risk his reputation by sur-
rounding himself with a strong company. The player let Hous-
tonians see his Cassius the day after Christmas in 1881. Of the
performance of the tragedy, a critic in the Post made a terse
Barrett makes the character of Cassius a vivid reality, his every turn
of the test is marked with closeness of study and a marvellous con-
sistency. The Brutus of Mr. Louis James is strong and well-balanced,
that gentleman possessing a much better natural voice than Barrett
himself, though without the polished schooling. The excellent acting
of Mr. James leaves little room for contrast between him and Barrett
that would cause the star to shine in brighter rays. The full strength
of the play was brought out when these two gentlemen were together.
Otis Skinner's fine portrayal of Julius Caesar found great favor
with the house, but Frederick Bock's "medium" voice was a notice-
able handicap to him in his great speech as Antony.
Barrett last visited Pillot's Opera House on February 15, 1888,
when he and Edwin Booth made a joint appearance in Julius
Caesar and Othello. The coming of the two stars was hailed by
the Post, in large headlines, as the greatest "histrionic feast" Hous-
ton had ever known. Barrett was praised for hazarding his repu-
tation in combining with Booth; and theatre-goers were pleased
that the players had chosen to open at a matinee with Julius
Caesar, in which drama the meteor-like and terrible Cassius of
the one would stride the stage with the faultless Brutus of the
After noting with some displeasure that the scanty resources
of Pillot's necessitated the merging of scenes one and two of Act
I, the Post critic began a commentary on the action of the tragedy.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed November 28, 2014.