The Missoula Colony won't be the same. Playwright James McLure, who has contributed to the summer gathering for writers over the past decade and a half, passed away yesterday morning. Greg Johnson, Montana Repertory Theatre's artistic director sent us this eulogy:
...The world lost one of its finest writers. James McLure a playwright, poet and friend who twenty years ago adopted Montana as his artistic home succumbed to cancer. For fifteen years Jim contributed to The Missoula Colony: The Montana Repertory Theatre’s “gathering of artists in support of the writers craft”. Each year Jim provided a play for us to read, each year a unique, often funny, always well crafted and always heartfelt play would arrive in the Rep office for our consideration and for a decade and a half we took him up on it. He is the only playwright to have contributed to the Colony in every year of its existence. This is in and of itself a remarkable achievement. But when you consider the depth, variety and breadth of his work it approaches miraculous. This is what the Colony is all about, providing a space for creativity to flourish and Jim was our poster man. From plays about movie stars, to cops and criminals, to a brilliant adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, Jim’s insight, talent, love of language and sheer humanity inspired not only us who loved him but a whole new generation of writers who came to appreciate his gentle tutelage and beguiling insight to their work. No one who met Jim came away from a conversation or interaction with him less than richer for it.
He was a true southern gentleman; quick of wit, sharply satirical, highly intelligent with a deep personal loyalty to those he loved. I was one of the lucky ones. He shone his light on me and I am the better man for it. He was a rare friend and we will not see his like again and we will miss him terribly and live on in the remembrance of his loving brilliance.
The Montana Repertory Theatre