• Greg Ellis

Obscure choices but great results

Sometimes when you choose characters for an event going with fictitious characters doesn't quite work, but neither do obvious real characters. That's because its always good for a character to have a relationship with the space they're performing in or the theme of the event. Then you have a reason to be there and the guests have a reason to interact with you in character.

That's why I chose a couple of real characters for the functions in this year's iteration of the Transportation Group conference. We were up at Space Place and Parliament's Banquet Hall so I chose the characters of Thomas Cooke and Cleisthenes of Athens...naturally.

Thomas Cooke was the gent who designed and built the telescope up at Space Place. He really existed, although he didn't quite look like me in the picture to the left. But he was a great character to welcome the guests and make sure that people got a chance to take a look at the telescope itself, because its a little out of the way up there.

Cleisthenes of Athens was supposedly the father of modern democracy. That's why he was an option to be the MC for the gala dinner in the Banquet Hall in the Beehive. I went a little weird with this choice because everyone was coming dressed as their favourite world leaders. That meant a lot of Fidel Castros and Donald Trumps so I needed to stand out a little. A toga and cloak will do that for you.

It was a nice way to MC an event and because the House was in urgency there were lots of bells and comings and goings for the fish out of water Athenian to react to. And some people in the audience even knew who Cleisthenes was!

The rest of the event saw me MCing the day-to-day proceedings as myself. Although because I'm onto my 7th or 8th year with this group even "Greg" has become a bit of a character in himself. There is a shared history with much of the crowd that means that I have certain running jokes that have quite the lineage. Every year I think that it could be my last with these guys - I think its the shared history that explains part of the longevity.

That and a penchant for the historically absurd, and yet strangely appropriate character choice.

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