Friday, February 18, 2011

A tribute to James McLure

Posted By on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 9:45 AM

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.

Greg Johnson
Artistic Director
The Montana Repertory Theatre

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