Some of the strongest images and memories of Nicholas Papademetriou’s childhood proved very useful when the director began work on the new play, Grounds For Marriage.

Papademetriou, an Australian born to Greek-Cypriot parents, says he vividly remembers the tales of family members living on the Mediterranean island who were displaced during the 1974 Turkish invasion.

The other images he has from that time are the high-voltage, melodramatic Greek movies of the 1970s, where the only thing bigger than the raw emotions of the movie plots was the hairstyles.

Those things really had an impact on me as a kid, but so did this play the first time I read it, he says during a break in rehearsals for the new work by playwright Androula Kavallaris.

Grounds For Marriage stars Zoe Carides as Penelope, a middle-aged Greek-Cypriot immigrant living in Sydney in 2003, but still waiting for her husband to return to her. He has been missing since the conflict 30 years before.

Penelope runs a high-end bridal shop, where she makes gowns for the elite brides of Sydney society. But it is when she makes a disturbing discovery about her missing husband that the salon and her life are thrown into chaos.

Among the characters in Penelope’s life is her trusty friend Harry, a gay man played by actor Michael Kotsohilis. Chris Argirousis, Petrina Edge and Nicholas Kokinidis are also in the cast.

I really like the character of Michael as he is neither the homogenised, stereotyped muscled Queer As Folk gay, nor is he the bitter, twisted fucked-up faggot, Papademetriou says.

He is well adjusted, has a successful relationship and, in this play, he is the only one who does. He is also quite together and strong.

He is not a flamboyant gay, but like the rest of us, has some very grand moments, he laughs. And I should add he is very cute as well.

Grounds For Marriage premieres on Thursday 24 August at the Sidetrack Studio Theatre, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville. Bookings on 9990 4980.

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