Welcome to Act1 Presentations

Throughout the years, Act1 has been involved with writing, directing, acting & filmmaking and we have managed to create a significant amount of work that contains theatre plays, short films & books.

Our most important work, soon to be added to our website, is the MORAL COURAGE WORKSHOPS, where students are taught to think for themselves so that they can make a difference in the world...here, now, today!

The world has yet to find,a way to prevent another Holocaust. Maybe this is a way. More anon.

Still, from our website, you can get information about us, read reviews of our books & movies and even order one of our books, scripted plays or films. An order form follows. Take a look. Thanks.

Other outlets for our materials are:
    KKJ Synagogue & Museum, 280 Broome Street, NYC 10002

Our Recent News:

·UPDATE - February, 2015

The first quarter of 2015 is as busy as the last quarter of 2014.
We have been reconstructing our website, as you can see.

The IOANNINA, MY IOANNINA tour book will be self- published here in Greece for distribution within Europe and printed in America later, thank to contributors who have an interest in Greece or who have been with Act1 for a length of time. You can turn to 'Books' to see what it's about. lt will be available through Act1 or at KKI in NYC.

We are planning a trip to America this spring. We are showing some of our films in the Northeast, presenting IOANNINA, MY IOANNINA at KKJ, and visiting friends & relatives around the country.

Diana & I are currently directing another Chekhov play, THE BEAR, in Greek, which opens the last week-end in February for two weeks. lf you're here, join us.

Isaac Dostis & Diana Dostis Sunrise


  What if more rescuers filled the world than perpetrators of violence and crime?

  The question is one that West Long Branch residents Diana Sunrise and Isaac Dostis ask others regularly.

  The husband-and-wife team use their theater group, Act 1 Presentations, to promote a "sliver of hope" that people don't stand by while violence is committed, but rather, stand up to it.

  Using the Holocaust as an example of the "sliver's" impact, the couple lead Moral Courage workshops, bringing acting and interactive theater to schools throughout New Jersey and neighboring states.

  Together, they make their life's work teaching nonviolence and peace-making in schools, libraries and museums.

  Their workshops include the daylong "Moral Courage Leadership Program."

  These programs use an acting method developed by Russian director Konstantin Stanislavski.

  With it, the couple promote "seeding," or planting seeds in students and adults to think differently to create a better world.

  The director believed that it's crucial for actors to understand their character's thoughts to create the character's behavior on stage.

  When expressed truthfully, thoughts and behavior bring the actor into the life-like state of emotions.

  Dostis and Sunrise bring this belief into the classroom.

  If children can learn what their thoughts are, then through theatrical means, they can change their thoughts and thereby their behavior and emotions.

  "Actual thoughts affect behavior," Dostis said, "We speak with images (it's difficult to speak abstractly), so the stronger the image, the stronger the emotion."

  Behavior, being a "series of actions," can be changed.

  "Just as actors choose how they build their character, children can choose the way they think and ultimately, the people they want to be," Dostis said.

  The "sliver of hope," he said, is where we learn our lessons. "We understand bystanders and victims, the perpetrators; but the most depth comes from the rescuers.If they can do in the worst of times (such as during the Holocaust), why not now?"

  Along with strong family morals and thinking for themselves, rescuers are more likely to have friends among the group attacked:

  "It's difficult not to sand up whenever you know the person," Dostis said.

  Giving Adolph Hitler as an example of one of the worst bullies in history, the couple offer ways to stand up to bullies in schools today.

  Students practice being as loud as a bully, responding with rhyming phrases, using body language and finding someone nearby to help.

  "We teach the children, become an actor to get what you want. Ask a stranger nearby, 'Excuse me, do you have the time?' If you need help," Dostis said.

  The two have many other projects under way, including scripts for a dozen one-act plays and Dostis' new children's book, "Ten Gold Medals: Glory or Freedom."

  An adventure story, it's based on a true story of his uncle's escape from Greece during World War II.

  "Not many people know there was a Holocaust in Greece ... as well as in the rest of Europe," he writes in the book.

  As Dostis' uncle, Isaac Koen, escapes with his family through the underground from athens to Palestine, he must systematically give away his gold medals won at state competitions for javelin, hurdles and running in the late 1920 and 1930's.

  The medals become literal tokens of appreciation for those who help his family get to safety.

  The book will be published in October and friend Tony Urgo has film rights for Walking Tour Films in San Diego, Calif.

  Sunrise is working on a children's book: "I Wanna Be a Giraffe," as well as an autobiography tentatively titled, "Mommy, Please Listen!"

  While a member of the Actors Studio in Manhattan, she created many roles for stage and theater, including for their video, "Lives to Save: The Rescuers."

  Film directing is one of Dostis' passions.

  Their Act 1 Presentations film, "We Are Not Alone - Greek Jews & The Holocaust," recently was shown at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck.

  Narrated by Dostis and Sunrise, the film is based on the Dostis family's experiences during the war.

  The eventual rescue of part of his family by Greek Righteous (non-Jewish rescuers) and Kristallnacht, the night in 1938 when synagogues were burned in Germany and Austria, also are part of the story.

  Another of Dostis' films, "Farewell, My Island," was timed to the actual 22 minutes that it took to round up Jews on the Greek island of Corfu.

  Sunrise's voiceovers punctuate the film as a young girl trying to understand why her familly is herded to the beaches and boats.

  Dostis is also the founder of Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.

  An exhibit, "Out of the Ashes," opened there April 4, commemorating the 60 years since the Jews of Janina were taken. Some of them wre relatives of Dostis.

  "We wanted to show how people survived and made lives for themselves," he said.

  One of the four areas in the exhibit features the book "Yannina: A Journey to the Past," written by his third cousin; Eftichia Nachmias. Dostis edited and wrote a dedication for the book.

  The couple are busy with new projects: another film, "Ioannina, my Ioannina", where Isaac's family comes from.

About Our Works

Act 1 Presentations has been working in New Jersey schools for over 20 years and we have created an amount of work that covers film, books and live performances, all based on moral courage with many fitting into Holocaust Studies. We hope you find something to fit your curriculum.


  • Ioannina, my Ioannina
  • A Dog's Life
  • Ten Gold Medals: Glory Or Freedom
  • Books written with Diana Sunrise

  • Greek Salad

  • Ioannina, my Ioannina

    More than a tour book of Ioannina, Greece’s points of Jewish interest; includes the synagogue, the cemetery, the roundup areas and other points of overlooked Jewish history, with the author as your personal guide. Divided into three integral parts: the two day tour, personally speaking & appendices.

    Researched & written by Isaak Dostis
    122 pages - B/W photos, maps, personal stories and more.

    Price: $30.00    

    A Dog's Life

    As in the title of the soap opera "The Days of Our Lives" so does A DOG'S LIFE give a day by day account of how Greeks often disparage & degrade man's (& woman's) best friend, until a savior (or two) comes along.

    Extended by Isaak Dostis from an anonymous internet story
    12 pages, 2 b/w photos.

    Price: Free to schools & English teachers of Greece; cost: postage only

    Greek Salad

    All the salad ingredients are in an uproar! Each one thinks that they are the most important element of a Greek salad and without them there is no Greek salad, until the mistress of the house adds them to a large bowl. Together for the first time, it’s a new world for all of them. With the help of tongs, they tumble and play and mix in a glorious salad of tastes and colors. It takes all of the ingredients to make a great Greek salad and a better world. Recipe included. For 6 to 9 year olds.

    Written by Isaak Dostis & Diana Sunrise
    31 pages - Color illustrations by Lazaros Kalogirou

    Price: $14.50    

    Ten Gold Medals (Second Edition)

    Isaak’s uncle, Isaac Cohen, was a sports hero in Greece. Using the medals he won in javelin, running and hurdles, he escapes Nazi Greece with his family, with the child, Laki, caretaker of the most precious of cargo…the medals. A true yet under-told story of the Holocaust in Greece. For teens & adults.

    Written by Isaak Dostis
    Introduction by Marcia Ikonomopoulos
    Illustrations by Padraic Fitzgerald
    101 pages with b/w illustrations & photos

    Price: $23.00    


    The Lost Synagogue Of Ioannina

    Ioannina, Greece had two synagogues before WWII. The Nazi’s desecrated the newer synagogue, Kal Kadosh Hadash, by using it as a stable. It was then razed by the city after the war to accommodate the remnant of returning Jews with living space. Few remember the original. The film is dedicated to its memory. In Greek & English with English Subtitles.
    Lenny Mandel, Producer
    Isaak Dostis, Director
    Vaggelis Zikos, Camera & Editor
    Vasilis Noukos, Cover Design
    Time: 17 minutes


    Loved it! Need to order more copies for the museum.
     KKJ Museum, NYC

    The film was amazing, very poignant.
     Bonnie Jean Ione

    I was so moved. The film is serious & wistful at the same time.
     Julie Ohland

    A job well done!
     Leonard Colchamiro

    Beyond History: My Father & the Greek Jews of Albania

    Isaak Dostis is searching for memory, both individual and collective. The endeavor has taken him to Albania, Greece, Israel and America. Memory is emotional. When it is lost to history, it becomes a statistic. Statistics are beyond individual moments. At that point, it is beyond history. Isaak’s memory of his father, Sam, will sink into oblivion once no one remembers his memory. The film is an attempt to stay that execution. In Greek, Albanian & English with English subtitles.
    Lenny Mandel, Executive Producer
    Isaak Dostis, Director
    Diana Sunrise, Assistant Director
    Vaggelis Zikos, Camera & Editor
    Time: 43 minutes


    We are so impressed with your film. We love your ideas of memory & history. You made the stories very real.
     Peggy Gloth & Jeff Klein

    I just watched your film & was so moved by your story of Greek Jews & Albania. I stopped the film at several points to look up names on my own tree.
     Adrienne Coffield

    Bravo! The film is lovely, important, poignant, sobering & uplifting…all at the same time. I’m glad you were able to make this journey & share this testament with others.
     Deborah Conow

    I was very touched by your film. Congratulations. I want to pass this on to my family.
     Candice Azzara, Hollywood actress

    Thank you, Isaak. It was thrilling for me to see your beautiful informative work. No longer is it BEYOND HISTORY, because of you & others IT IS HISTORY!
     Sid Ganis, Hollywood producer

    I Never Danced With My Father

    Saki regrets that his relationship with his father, a great dancer, had many opportunities for change. In flashbacks, he understands that he never honored his father Ilias for who he was, until it was too late. A last solitary scene in a cemetery offers belated solace and loss. A semi-autobiographical film. In Greek with English subtitles.
    Lenny Mandel, Producer
    Vaggelis Zikos & Isaak Dostis, Co-Directors
    Isaak Dostis, Writer
    Vaggelis Zikos, Translator
    Time: 18 minutes


    The title speaks for itself. I love it.
     Library of Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    The film & its story is simple & direct enough yet it has many unstated meanings & melancholy overtones best left for the viewer to grasp. I applaud you for this.
     Louis Menashe

    I thought it was marvelous, so much so that I cried at the end.
     Marc Fox

    My Greek friend loved it as much as I did. I was brought to tears by the end. You did a marvelous job. It‘s an awesome film.
     Bunny Barnes, former German teacher, PA

    Your movie was wonderfully poignant! Bravo sou! I played it several times & each time I see & hear something different! The most heart rending comes at the end. Me agape.
     Veneeta Acson

    Good Reasons

    Four short commercials offering GOOD REASONS not scare tactics, for children (and adults) to stop smoking.

    Isaak Dostis, Conception & Direction
    Time: 6 minutes

    The Jewish Image

    The film looks at the image of the Jew in our mind’s eye from submission during the Holocaust to its change into militancy of ‘never again’. THE JEWISH IMAGE was a 1974 award winner at the Brooklyn Film Festival for new filmmakers. A silent film with images & music.

    Isaak Dostis, Director
    Time: 6 minutes


    Interesting documentary style…some beautiful photography… nice juxtaposition of old & new…both submissive & militant.
     BACA, Brooklyn, NY

    Marvelous imagery.
     CBS Radio

    Some quite fascinating choices made…very effective & powerful.
     New York City ATAS

    Should have been longer.
     Allen Swift Studios

    Good concept. I’d like to see more of your work. Your potential is certainly apparent.
     National Association of Theatre Arts

    Farewell, My Island

    In the early morning hours of Friday, June 9, 1944, 1,750 member of the Jewish Community of Corfu were rounded up and taken to the kastro, the island’s fortress. They were all transported to Auschwitz. Only 121 would return. The film is 22 minutes long, the exact time it took for the Nazis to get the Jews from the round-up area to the docks. Through interviews with some of the survivors, we follow their little known journey.
    Isaak Dostis, Director
    Nir Ramon, Camera
    Diana Sunrise & Anna Megaris, Narrative Voices
    Lenny Mandel, Producer
    Meir Israel, Music
    Time: 22 minutes


    …a beautiful & fascinating film. A valuable aspect of Holocaust history has been brought to light by your efforts.
     Center for Holocaust Studies, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ

    …a poignant story of events of that fateful June day on Corfu. The moving film was well received.
     Library, Toms River, NJ

    There was lots of enthusiasm for the wonderful evening you & your film shared with us. It was a powerful screening.
     JCC Bergen County, Washington Township, NJ

    Your documentary is a major contribution to a better understanding of Americans of Greek Judeo heritage.
     Documentary International, Washington DC

    Lives To Save: The Rescuers

    Within the deadly gloom of the Holocaust, there were signs of humanity. We think little about the individuals, be they ordinary citizens, clergy, politicians, monarchs – even nations – who helped countless Jews survive the Holocaust. Among those who helped, many are unknown to us. Here then, are only a few who have come to light. In theatrical dramatizations, here are our lessons. A Special Jury Award was presented by the Judah Magnes Museum, Berkeley, CA.
    Isaak Dostis & Diana Sunrise, Writers, Actors
    Nick Levitin, Director
    David Gordon,Music
    Time: 55 minutes


    Your performance was almost palpable.
     Library, Franklin Lakes, NJ

    People are still talking about how moved they were by your performances.
      Temple Beth Shalom, Fair Lawn, NJ

    Thank you for your sensitive and tender production. Its message of a ‘glimmer of light even when it is the darkest' can only bring understanding and reassurance. (It) makes it apparent that you have touched an important nerve.
     YM&YWHA, Wayne, NJ

    A stunning, immensely powerful and moving drama. Isaac and Diana are first rate actors assuming many different roles with enormous skill and ease…one poignant incident after another. Audiences will long remember this play.
     Library, Ridgewood, NJ

    The presentation far surpassed my expectations. You're portrayals of the various people involved were sensitive and convincing, as it speaks of an important theme.
     B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation, Brooklyn College, NYC

    The actors succeeded in keeping 150 12th graders in the middle of final exams spell bound.
     Municipal High School, Herzlia, Israel

    All pre-production details were handled with such expertise and professionalism that it truly was a pleasure to arrange a showing.
     Jewish Federation of Kingston, NY

    The play affected us deeply, touching our hearts and minds. You made the characterizations live for us.
     Unitarian Fellowship, Morristown, NJ

    Your performances were profoundly moving.
     Friends of the Library, Cresskill, NJ

    “Lives To Save” was enjoyed by all and also provided an educational experience.
     Library, Belleville, NJ

    An original and powerful play which was uniquely conceived and professionally present. It will remain etched in the mind and influence our moral judgment transcending the Holocaust into everyday life.
     Parents Without Partners, Ramapo, NJ

    All we heard from the audience was praise.
     Sisterhood of Janina, Queens, NY

    Only once before in my eighteen years here have I seen so attentive an audience. Students who were considered inattentive displayed a level of concentration that was complete and intense. The new information you provided gave a particular perspective to the Holocaust for us to study.
     Morris County College, Randolph, NJ

    Both student and staff evaluations were overwhelmingly positive.
     Regional HS, Watchung, NJ

    I hope that thousands will have the opportunity of sharing your drama. It is a significant one for all of us.
     Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Los Angeles, CA

    A ‘living gallery' of the righteous; I was impressed by the structure of the play and how it moved along, each sketch adding some new dimension to the attributes of the righteous.
     Realto United Methodist Church, Clarement, CA

    They presented the play to our 8th grade students. The papers students wrote contained glowing comments about the performers and pensive remarks about the subject matter. They were moved by the material presented.
     Abraham Clark HS, Roselle, NJ

    The play was put on wonderfully. The acting was believable and the dialogue was well written. Valerie (student) The acting duo of Isaac and Diana is unsurpassed at their art. The characters they presented seemed larger than life.

    This is one of the most moving and evocative performances I have ever seen.They won the hearts and moved our souls. I heartily recommend the play.
     Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, NYC

    We had one of the most powerful assembly programs I have ever seen presented to our 8th and 9th grade students. The performers were excellent actors and the theme was so touching and poignant that our students were deeply engrossed in the performance.
     Principal, Warren Hills Regional Jr HS, Washington, NJ

    At the conclusion of the play I was asked to say a few words, but I was so moved by the performance that I couldn't manage to say anything. 8th and 9th grade students also felt the impact even though sitting on hard bleachers.
     Warren Hills Regional Jr HS, Washington, NJ

    Your performance was stupendous. The manner in which you brought your characters alive resonated through the audience.Both Jews and non Jews learned in an exciting and vibrant way of the miraculous work done by the righteous.
     Hillel Jewish Student Center, University of Miami, FL

    This play is an important, useful, informative and moving production that clearly draws the audience in, captivates as it elevates and touches all who witness it. The stories become alive and the actors, real people. It was an inspiring and important performance which was universally appreciated.
     Center for Holocaust Studies, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ

    I left feeling a great sense of release and relief. There were good decent people even through those darkest days.
     University of Miami, FL

    Your willingness to participate, your phenomenal creative energies, the powerful message you offered to the participants and the Teaneck High School students, as well as the emotional “bonding” you attained with all those individuals you met, are warmly appreciated.You are both unique and wonderful individuals.
     Public School, Teaneck, NJ

    The content of the material and your ability to develop a dialogue with the audience helped each student internalize the message. Students have commented that this is one of the most effective moments in their class room education.
     Ramapo HS, Franklin Lakes, NJ

    The response to the program has been overwhelming. We have received letters, phone calls and students, faculty, and administration have stopped us in the halls to speak about the program.
     Bergen Community College, Paramus, NJ

    As one student wrote, “I'm glad someone opened our eyes to the righteous. We learned so little about this group in our classes.”
     Social Studies Department, River Dell Regional Schools, River Edge, NJ

    …Absolutely compelling as evidenced by the 7th – l0th graders being so totally absorbed and attentive!. I was even more impressed with your follow up discussion. Holocaust education must result in a greater awareness of righteous behavior.
     Reform Temple, Suffern, NY

    Both the Middle and High School students were riveted. You certainly made an impact on them. I want to make special mention of the important dialogue you entered into with the students after the performance on the subject of moral courage.
     Solomon Schechter Day School, Cranford, NJ

    Your presentation was highly dramatic and left the students with a greater sense of moral courage. I enjoyed your previewing specific vocabulary with the youngsters. This helped them focus on the lesson in hand. It was a very rewarding experience.
     River Dell Regional Jr HS, River Edge, NJ

    Students leaving the library after the performance commented that it was one of the best things they had ever seen. Staff members shared the students' opinion. It was truly moving.
     Asst. Principal, Public School, Glen Rock, NJ

    Your play and discussion that you led afterwards was perhaps the best event this summer. The scholars all l00 of these talented rising high school seniors found their attention, their moral questioning, and their hope for the future captivated by your presentation.
     Governor's School, Monmouth College, West Long Branch, NJ

    The quality of your presentation of scenes was every bit as impressive as the wonderful strength of conviction that so obviously prompted it. That we could be so well entertained even as we were profoundly informed, is a tribute both to your talents and to your dedication.
     Regis High School, NYC

    Your show is so brilliant and thought provoking. I couldn't get it out of my mind throughout the day.
     Public Library, South Orange, NJ

    Your program held student interest from start to finish. Kudos to you for the fine work you are doing.
     High School, Milburn, NJ

    I believe true learning occurs only when we involve people on a personal and emotional level. Your presentation accomplished this. The students will not forget.
      North Hunterdon HS, Annandale, NJ

    The performance was of exceptional quality and very moving. Two thumbs up.
     Junior HS, Claremont, CA

    I was very much impressed by your moving performance…very realistic and heroic.
     Union County College, NJ

    The actors did a superb job in acting, educating and sensitizing students to the Holocaust.
     Memorial Jr HS, Whippany, NJ

    Thanks for bringing to life the experience of the Holocaust. It's something far more important than information from pages in a book.
     West Morris HS, Mendham, NJ

    A sensitive and insightful portrayal.
     Mt. Hebron School, Montclair, NJ

    We could almost feel how the rescuers felt.
     Waterloo County Holocaust Committee, Kitchener, Canada

    I am amazed how you bring these individuals to life.Your acting is natural, real and filled with love…
     Holocaust Remembrance Committee, Jewish Federation, Toronto, Canada

    …one of the most thought provoking, enlightening experiences we have had.
     St. Cassian Church, Upper Montclair, NJ

    A wonderful and enriching presentation for our 4th and 5th graders. It helped our efforts in teaching our young students about the Holocaust.
     Campbell School, Metuchen, NJ

    The sketches offered the participants of the teachers seminar, insights into a special aspect of the Holocaust, moved many of them to tears, and left them motivated to incorporate drama techniques into the teaching of this vital subject matter.
     Holocaust Seminar, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ

    You truly have a great gift. It is extremely rare for any performer to captivate our entire student body of behaviorally problematic children, almost riveting their attention, but the most important aspect of your performance is the message.
     Windsor High School, Morristown, NJ

    Truly outstanding and memorable. Two thumbs up!!!The audience praise was unanimous.
      Men's Club, Temple Beth Am, Parsippany, NJ

    The moving portrayal of the rescuers added another dimension to our understanding of the horrors and heroes of the time. Teaching about the heroes is too often neglected.
      Boonton Middle School, Boonton, NJ

    My whole body is just “churning” and I became short of breath with eyes tearing.Your performance was so meaningful. Thank you for your efforts for world peace!!
     Archie and Carol Eisler, Bayonne, NJ

    An inspiration to faculty and students alike. You have embodied the ideal in education.
     Ft. Lee HS, Fort Lee, NJ

    Gripping, moving and informative. It was a performance that the adults and children will never forget.
      Union School, Rutherford, NJ

    Enlightenment can eliminate bias and hatred. On behalf of the awestruck audience, the department of recreation and community affairs thanks you.
     Cynthia Bachoo, Dayton, NJ

    A tribute to “accentuating the positive.”
     Grace Plater, Kendall Park, NJ

    Please accept our overwhelming appreciation for your outstanding performance and the wonderful work you both do on behalf of prejudice reduction.
     Communications Dept, College of St. Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ

    We had the golden opportunity to witness this fine production. Being made aware of a positive aspect of the Holocaust was something new to everyone.
      Queen of Peace Elementary School, North Arlington, NJ

    Two very gifted and talented actors.
     Academic Affairs, County College of Morris,Randolph, NJ

    One of the most moving and poignant presentations ever given here. It was well received by Jews and Christians alike.The universal themes came through loud and clear. I sensed a bonding in the room when your play came to an end.So captivating and genuine, we thought that we were reliving the experiences and feelings by the characters you portrayed. The highest bravos to you.
     Senior Center, Fair Lawn, NJ

    A most useful educational film.
      Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies, Ramapo, NJ

    The lessons of the rescuers is entirely appropriate for our community programs.
      US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC

    We were impressed & delighted with the work you've done here.
     Cultural Diversity Fieldbook, Amherst, MA, Santa Cruz, CA

    More than just a show, it is an experience.
      English Department, Herzlia Municipal HS, Israel

    The effect of a few simple props & the skill of the actors is amazing. I'd like to see more ... your potential is certainly apparent.
      Canadian Jewish News, Ontario, Canada

    We Are Not Alone: Greek Jews & The Holocaust

    For many years, all Isaak Dostis knew of the family he lost to the little known Holocaust in Greece was the two photos on his parents’ bureau. No one ever talked of what occurred. Recently, he and his wife, Diana, went to Israel and Greece to visit the surviving family on his mother’s side. The saga began: Seven of the family were saved by a Righteous, while many more perished. WE ARE NOT ALONE is a personal attempt at an overview with joy and sadness attending both sides of the story.
    Isaak Dostis & Diana Sunrise, Writers & Narrators
    Lenny Mandel, Producer
    David Gordon, Music
    Time: 30 minutes


    With meticulously editing & with a certain quiet objectivity, Dostis tells the story, not often recounted, of what happened to the Jews of Greece. The grimness is mitigated by the acts of decency.
     Jewish Week, Brooklyn, NY

    A perfect program for our Holocaust Remembrance commemoration.
     Temple Sha'arey Shalom, Springfield, NY

    The Greek Holocaust became more real & personal.
     Public Affairs, Department of the Army, Picatinny, NJ

    The film is of great value for all Greek descendants. The younger generation has to know & learn what happened during thos years.
     Holocasut Committee, Toronto, Canada

    Your film IS Greece! To those who watched it, your work is reminiscent of this special aroma, the Greek aroma.
     Dimitris Platis, Former Consulate General Greek Embassy, NY

    Soul Saving: Common Threads Of Kindness

    Using acts of kindness, Holocaust survivors remember lost images of help they received during this worst of times. Act 1 also followed teenagers creating acts of kindness for senior citizens and the disabled in the world today. Aesop’s fable of THE MOUSE & THE LION clarifies goodness for both aspects – under dangerous conditions and in relative safety. When emotional lives are at stake, small things mean a lot.
    Isaak Dostis, Director
    Jane Ryan, Camera & Cover Design
    Music, Frank Singer
    Time: 52 minutes


    ÷Moral Courage Workshops

    · Commemorating The Holocaust Will Not Stop Another Holocaust From Happening!

    It is now over seventy years since The Holocaust ended with the opening of the concentration camps and the slow, ever so slow, recognition of what had taken place. And yet…and yet… with the diminishing amount of survivors left in the world, soon, a commemoration will be for whom?


    · Stanislavski and the Moral Dilemma

    Many theatre people know of Constantin Stanislavski and his famous system (Americans may know parts of it better as “The Method”) but most don’t know his views on moral courage that went along with his theatrical devices that helped build an alive human being on stage.

    More on Stanislavski Acting below...

    · Overview

    “Goodness is an optimist’s dream. Reality lies somewhere between that dream and the pessimism we have to deal with every day.” Anonymous
    When we look around at the news being reported by the media, by the history we keep reading about, we begin understanding that the signposts of our lives revolve around war and colonization, poverty and starvation, holocausts and genocides.
    Our ‘signposts’ extend to entertainment: The American Psychological Society reports that children watch 21-23 hours of television a week, and that by the end of elementary school, the child will have seen 8,000 murders and 10,000 other acts of violence. And this is beyond CNN’s instant recording of war.
    Yet the child is also attacked in school itself. Our history books include so many violent acts. Notice how much ‘reality’ our books are full of. So we teach the violence and war that we see on television, see in our films, and hear in our modern music. The cycle grows and grips us. Watch children on the playground or in the cafeteria; notice inclusion/exclusion, haves/have-nots as a reflection of our lives. Isn’t this how wars begin? Isn’t this how the Holocaust began? Are we repeating history?
    With our theatrical experiences as actors and teachers, we have found that in order to build a character on stage, we need to know the thoughts, behavior, and therefore the emotions of the character.
    As this is true for theatre, why not in life? If I begin understanding my everyday thoughts (and therefore my behavior) I can change my thoughts and my behavior. My emotions and attitudes may change as well. Experts call this Behavioral Psychology. Actors call it Building a Character.
    Schools offer us the possibility of planting these seeds. If a child can learn, through theatrical means, what his thoughts are, then he can change those thoughts with the theatrical games we play. Just as actors can choose how they build their character, so can children choose the person they want to be. Once they learn the technique of choosing their thoughts, they can also choose their behavior and become the person they want to be through choices, hopefully loving, caring and non-violent.
    We have a chance to change society, one good step at a time.

    Want to see how?  


    ISAAC DOSTIS has worn many hats in his artistic career. As actor, director and teacher, he has worked with the famed Henry Street Playhouse & The Sonia Moore Studio, both in New York City. As a filmmaker, he has produced the award winning video LIVES TO SAVE: THE RESCUERS, about those who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Currently he writes and teaches with Act 1’s Moral Courage Programs.
    DIANA SUNRISE, co-founder of Act 1 Presentations, has helped create and write shows and workshops for schools and organizations throughout the states. While a member of the Actors Studio in New York, Diana also created many roles for stage including a video LIVES TO SAVE: THE RESCUERS. A graduate of Seattle Pacific College in Seattle, Washington, she received her BA in Speech and Drama receiving awards as Best Actress in THE INNOCENTS and THE MIRACLE WORKER.
    BOTH are co-recipients of THE RAOUL WALLENBERG AWARD for teaching Moral Courage and THE AXELROD AWARD for educators in Holocaust Education.

    ÷The Stanislavski System (of acting)

    · Stanislavski and the Moral Dilemma

    Many theatre people know of Constantin Stanislavski and his famous system (Americans may know parts of it better as “The Method”) but most don’t know his views on moral courage that went along with his theatrical devices that helped build an alive human being on stage.


    · Stanislavski & the Art of Making Commercials

    The idea of Konstantin Stanislavski & the art of making commercials looks at first incongruous. The obvious reasons may be that “there is no real acting in commercials” or “it happens so quickly, we don’t have the time it takes to use Stanislavski” or “are you kidding, a real actor wouldn’t be caught dead in ‘em.”
    Stanislavski in his lifetime, worked in a medium which influenced people’s lives. Today, commercials, to a vast extent, do the same thing.


    · THE MUSICAL CONNECTION: The Visual Expression of a Musical Experience By Frederick Storfer

    The current standard practice in presenting a music theatre piece is to break it down into its basic elements of drama and music. Usually this results in a lack of vision as to an overall point of view. By organically interconnecting the dramatic and musical elements of a work, we enable a flow of behavioral logic leading toward an organic whole. This connection between the two facilitates the construct of a logical flow of its episodic elements within the organic totality – the musical connection.


    Scripted One Act Plays


    Lives to Save: The Rescuers

    The lessons of the Holocaust lie in the reasons over 14,000 documented rescuers risked their lives to save Jews, breaking the notion that no one helped in this most trying of times. A series of dramatizations for adults & school children, grades 4-12. Cast of two performers (m/f) or many performers. Time: approximately 50 minutes.


    The play’s message is about triumph & moral courage in the face of adversity.
     The Courier, Long Branch, NJ

    The dramatizations by Dostis & Sunrise recounted the Holocaust through the eyes of the rescuers.
     Daily Record, Morristown, NJ

    The duo focuses on people who are unsung heroes of history when writing their plays. [This play offers] dramatic interpretations of the situations faced by those who risked their lives to save Jews during the war.
     Central Post, East Brunswick, NJ

    The material is excellent, the text easy to understand.
     Voices Israel, Haifa, Israel

    I enthusiastically recommend this play & their performances. They kept the students spellbound.
     Municipal High School, Herzlia, Israel

    On behalf of a grateful audience, we thank you for performing your play ‘Lives to Save’ here in such a magnificent manner. We were treated to a meaningful experience.
     American International School, Tel Aviv, Israel

    It was a moving account of the Righteous. Your vignettes impacted & left a great mark on our students.
     Hammarskjold Middle School, East Brunswick, Nj

    A few simple props & the skill of the writers & actors was all that was needed to make it amazing.
     Canadian Jewish News, Ontario, Canada

    Local viewers are perhaps most familiar with Act 1’s frequently run ‘Lives to Save: The Rescuers,’ a play written & edited by the duo. It tells the stories of Christians who helped Jews survive during the Holocaust.
     Metrowest Jewish News, Parsippany, NJ

    It’s message of a ‘glimmer of light even when it is the darkest’ can only bring understanding & reassurance.
     YM&YWHA, Wayne, NJ

    The play speaks of an important theme.
     Hillel Foundation, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY

    It is an original & powerful play which was uniquely conceived & professionally presented. It will remain etched in the mind & influence our moral judgement transcending the Holocaust into everyday life.
     Sisterhood of Janina, Queens, NY

    The new information you provided gave a particular perspective to the Holocaust for us to study.
     Morris County College, Randolph, NJ

    I was impressed by the structure of the play& how it moved along, each sketch adding some new dimension to the attributes of the Righteous.
     Realto United Methodist Church, Claremont, CA

    The play is an important, useful, informative &moving production that clearly draws the audience in, captivates as it elevates & touches all who witness it.
     Center for Holocaust Studies, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ

    The content of the material & your ability to develop a dialogue with the audience helped each student internalize the message.
     Ramapo High School, Franklin Lakes, NJ

    I’m glad someone opened our eyes to the Righteous. We learned so little about this group in our classes.
     A student at River Dell High School, River Edge, NJ

    Holocaust education must result in a greater awareness of righteous behavior.
     Reform temple, Suffern, NY

    Your play & discussion that you led afterwards was perhaps the best event this summer. The scholars, all 100 of these talented, rising high school seniors, found their attention, their moral questioning, & their hope for the future captivated by your presentation.
     Governor’s School, Monmouth College, West Long Branch, NJ

    That we could be so well entertained even as we were profoundly informed, is a tribute both to your talents & your dedication.
     Regis High school, NYC

    The actors did a superb job in acting, educating & sensitizing students to the Holocaust.
     Memorial Junior High School, Whippany, NJ

    One of the most thought provoking, enlightening experiences we have had.
     St Cassian Church, Upper Montclair, NJ

    The most important aspect of your performance is the message.
     Windsor High School, Morristown, NJ

    [The company of two] gave a gripping, moving & informative performance, which we’ll never forget.
     Union School, Rutherford, NJ

    The universal themes came through loud & clear. I sensed a bonding in the room when your play came to an end.
     Senior Center, Fair Lawn, NJ

    The Trial of Susan B. Anthony

    We know the name but we may not know the reason. Susan B Anthony was arrested for voting & what America put her through at the trial is something to behold. The show includes actual trial testimony. The jury is chosen from the audience. For adults & school children, grades 4-12. Cast of two performers (m/f) or many performers. Time: approximately 40 minutes.


    Your research of the material presented was extraordinary.
     Free Public Library, Bergenfield, NJ

    Through your research, you bring out true, unusual facts, unknown to the general public. Your account of the incidents is so real.
     Public Library, Teaneck, NJ

    Your creative dramatization of the actual testimony…to write women back into history…presented a wonderful, vibrant look into history.
     Boquet Valley Women’s Club, Willsboro, NY

    A good play brings across the feel of the time & the historical context with particular immediacy. We were not only pleased with the presentation, but you have my appreciation of the manner in which you make language in your presentation accessible to some of our foreign students.
     Union County College, Cranford, NJ

    …using powerful prose… the couple portray figures from history showing the danger [SBA] faced taking the position [she] did.
     The Record, Hackensack, NJ

    Using actual testimony from the proceedings, [the actors] reenacted the experience of Susan B Anthony.
     APG News, Philadelphia, PA

    Sunrise & Dostis wrote their production based on the transcript of the trial. Other jurors later concurred that the dramatization was much more effective than a lecture.
     Star Ledger, Newark, NJ

    The play richly underscored the theme of the National Women’s History Month which is ‘to write women back into history.’
     Women’s Club, Willsboro, NY

    The message was clearly imparted.
     Batten Middle School, Elizabeth, NJ

    The play imparts lessons in history & jurisprudence.
     Glen Ridge Paper, Glen Ridge, NJ

    To prepare, Dostis & Sunrise did hours of research for arguments made in the case.
     The Record, Hackensack, NJ

    The program was informative & entertaining as well.
     Public Library, Belleville, NJ, you bring

    Stand Up & Be Counted!

    Not many people consider the white community’s support for the Civil Rights Movement. It is a surprise to comprehend that Martin Luther King spoke for all of us when he spoke of equality & non-violence. A series of dramatizations of those every day white heroes who stepped over the imaginary line dividing America by race for adults & school children, grades 4-12. Cast of two performers (m/f) or many performers. Time: Approximately 40 minutes.


    Students witnessed the sacrifices made by average white Americans. The play recreates instances of bravery on the part of ordinary people who dared to step across the line of segregation. The students became silent & fixed, finally punctuating the performance’s conclusion with vigorous applause.
     The Sentinal, North Brunswick, NJ

    These are dramatizations of White America’s participation in the Civil Rights Movement, ‘the other side’ of the Civil Rights Movement. This is an unique program. I have never seen a program during Black History Month which emphasized the role of Whites. It’s good to get it from the white perspective.
     The Community Newspaper, Long Branch, NJ

    It’s a series of Civil Rights history lesson skits to enlighten predominantly white students. The goal was to interest the students in the Movement & in the idea that its message pertains not only to blacks, but to everyone. Sunrise & Dostis developed their play because they felt that too many young non-blacks viewed the Civil Rights Movement as a history lesson for others.
     Star Ledger, Newark, NJ

    The play is about those who stood up to be counted yet didn’t quite gain the recognition & popularity they deserve. This is a unique form of educational entertainment. Each scene change was smooth & convincing. Thank you, Isaac & Diana for your marvelous efforts to rid the world of prejudice.
     The Scroll, Elizabeth, NJ

    Most of the individuals in the play are little known people, yet the context of their actions will be recognizable to those familiar with the Civil Rights struggle.
     News-Record, Maplewood & South Orange, NJ

    The play is a series of 13 sketches. One sketch dramatized a dialogue between a principal & a racist teacher that looked at the desegregation of the Teaneck [NJ] School District. It should be relevant because there is still so much prejudice going around.
     Daily Record, Morristown, NJ

    My daughter, Merissa, said it was the best & most meaningful & thought-provoking assembly she’s attended. Thanks for enlightening her.
     Sherry Silk, Montvale, NJ

    The Civil Rights Movement was brought to life on Monday at Milburn High School in a tightly edited fabric of scenes. The message of the play was that all those who could no longer stay silent about the issue of segregation helped to bring about its demise.
     The Item, Milburn & Short Hills, NJ

    Our population of 84 emotionally disturbed adolescents was captivated by your theatrical style & informational presentation. Each & every skit was entertaining as well as informative.
     Windsor High School, Morristown, NJ

    Hapless Hazel's Hopeless Horror

    A mystery melodrama about the early days of bowling where the villain is hissed & the heroine is applauded, done in silent movie style. It offers us a look at the treatment of women in the 19th century through fun for all ages. Cast: Only two players needed (m/f). Time: Approximately 40 minutes.


    We enjoyed the participatory nature of the melodrama.
     Hartwick Nursing Home, Cedar Grove, NJ

    It was wonderful to see an educational experience that can be such fun, too.
     Public Library, North Bergen, NJ

    Deborah Sampson: Revolutionary War Soldier

    The first woman to fight in our War of Independence disguised as a man. Her trials & tribulations before, during & after her historical adventure are revisited. For adult, senior citizens & school children, grades 3-6. Cast of two performers (m/f) or many performers. Time: Approximately 35 minutes.


    The program content made the social studies curriculum come alive.
     Owens Middle School, New Milford, NJ

    It was all you said it would be, Isaac: Educational, engrossing & entertaining.
     JCC, Tenafly, NJ

    Our students were enthralled with the story. You have helped us address important & current gender issues.
     Public School, Northvale, NJ

    The dramatization covered language arts as well.
     Greenville Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY

    The performance was a very educational & informative ‘true’ story.
     PTA-Fernwood School, Randolph, NJ

    As with any performance with Dostis & Sunrise, you always come & entertain & educate us, making us think.
     Public Library, Teaneck, NJ

    Holiday Shows/American Traditions

    Haym Salomon: Revolutionary War Angel

    One of the financiers of our War of Independence happened to be a Jew. Find out how he was repaid by the U S Government in a surprise ending. He is with us every day of our lives, but we don’t know it. For adults, senior citizens & school children, grades 3-6. Cast of two (m/f) or many performers. Time: Approximately 35 minutes.


    Haym Salomon isn’t mentioned often in American history classes but without Salomon, there might not have been a United States. Act 1 has written him back into history.
     Backstage, NYC

    It encapsulated the life of this great Jewish patriot. It’s a great tribute to the content & quality of the presentation & an excellent learning experience.
     Matty Feldman, NJ Senator

    We were delighted & as well as instructed.
     Congregation Beth Abraham, Bridgeton, NJ

    Julia Dent Grant: The First, First Lady

    Julia Dent Grant was an early women’s advocate expanding the role of the president’s wife as never before. She welcomes the audience to a special tea at the Grant family residence front porch with Ulysses as special guest. Conversations center around the state of women’s affairs in the 19th century & stories about the era aimed at adults & college students. Cast: two players (m/f). Approximately 45 minutes.


    Not only is the play, written by Sunrise & Dostis, an historical account detailing the state of women’s affairs in the 19th century but it is also a love story.
     Northern Valley News, Ridgewood, NJ

    As envisioned by the playwrights, Julia Dent Grant, the first, first lady, cordially invites the public to a special tea at the Grant’s family residence front porch.
     Twin Boro News, Bergenfield, NJ

    Through your dramatization, we have a better understanding of the Grants. As always, it was informative, thought-provoking & entertaining.
     Public Library, Teaneck, NJ

    Mothers of Invention: Give Credit Where Credit is Due!

    The contributions women have made to society in all aspects of our lives are easily overlooked. Through sketches and ‘show & tell’ we begin to understand that women stand equal to men. Cast: Only two Players (m/f) with elements of show & tell needed for adults & children, grades 2-4. Time: Approximately 40 minutes.


    Your stories & ‘show & tell’ were both humorous & informative.
     Public Library, Teaneck, NJ

    Thank you for making us aware of women’s contributions to society.
     Public Library, Ridgewood, NJ

    It was an entertaining & enlightening lesson for us all, men & women alike.
     Central Unitarian Church, Paramus, NJ

    It was a delightful & thought provoking show.
     Free Public Library, Bergenfield, NJ

    1492: More than Just Columbus

    A Multimedia Presentation

    The intrigue behind the scenes between Spanish Queen Isabella & her financial advisor, Isaac Abravenal is the basis for this show. There is more to 1492 than we usually know. Sketch time: 20 minutes. Cast: two actors (m/f). Included is a list of Q&A for the audience which can be enhanced with a power point of the Moorish art of Spain & also the Native Americans before Columbus’ ventures. Total time: 1 hour; for adults, high school & college students.


    This was a most interesting informative & exciting program.
     Sisterhood, Jewish Community, Fort Lee, NJ

    The mix of drama, art slides, education & discussion was entertaining & more.
     Life Care Retirement Community, Media, PA

    Your performance was well researched, well-acted & thought provoking.
     Public Library, New Milford, NJ

    The colorful & authentic costumes, the well written play & illuminating slide show…all added up to a truly exceptional experience.
     Public Library, Tenafly, NJ

    Raoul Wallenberg: One person can make a difference

    Raoul Wallenberg saved thousands of Jews in Budapest during the Holocaust. Although he never appears on stage, through a variety of scenes we understand how one dedicated person can truly make a difference. Cast: Two players (m/f) or many players. Focus: Adults & college students. Time: Approximately 40 minutes.


    I was impressed with the creativity of Dostis & Sunrise in both the conception & the writing of the play.
     Committee to Honor Raoul Wallenberg, Parsippany, NJ

    Common Ground

    Silence can be deadly & shouldn’t be tolerated, especially in the face of the tyranny of the Holocaust & the racism running rampant in America in the 20th century. Some refused to remain silent & risked their lives to help save oppressed people. A series of dramatizations gives us a look at the common ground of heroism for adults, high school, & college students. Cast: two performers (m/f) or many performers. Time: Approximately 40 minutes.


    Our students were entertained & moved by your message. You kept them thoughtfully & emotionally involved.
     Collier High School, Wickatunk, NJ

    It allows the students to understand how bigotry, prejudice & intolerance can lead to atrocities against people, specifically because of the silence or inaction of the large majority.
     Commission on Holocaust education, Trenton, NJ

    The vignettes of courage drove home inescapably the centrality of the individual. Your program raised issues the students never considered before. As an educational resource, Common Ground is unsurpassed.
     William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ

    The audience was certainly affected by the powerful dialogue that delivered the important message of moral courage.
     Whitestone Middle School, Verona, NJ

    Break the Silence

    Many never knew what the concentration camps held until the heroes of the Allied Forces liberated them. Testimony at an imaginary tribunal before a court of spectators (the audience) leads to a variety of dramatizations. This one of our most emotional plays for adults, high school & college students. Cast of two performers or many performers. Time: Approximately 40 minutes.


    I received your letter with the script of the play. Great! Showed it to my wife Ruth & she said that it was just as she said years ago. Keep up the important work you two are doing.
     Curtis Whiteway, Liberator, Plainfield, VT

    Set in an imaginary tribunal, these unsung heroes, those Allies Forces, who liberated the concentration camps of WWII, tell their stories.
      Twin Boro News, Ridgewood, NJ

    You’ll find a most moving, provocative presentation of readings in ‘Break the Silence.’
      Interfaith Holocaust Memorial Council, Randolph, NJ

    Through your writing, ‘we relive the incredible inhumanity of man to his fellow man…a very meaningful presentation.
      Public Affairs, Department of the Army, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

    The play, written by Isaac Dostis & his wife Diana Sunrise, concerns the Allied Liberators, who opened up the camp gates. It is a good companion piece to the provocative ‘Lives to Save: The Rescuers.’


    Contact Info

    Isaak & Diana are Act 1 Presentations
    Act1 Presentations
    18 Josef Eliyia Street #7
    Ioannina, 45221 Greece

    Phone in Greece: 0030-26510-32807

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    Add an Order

    If you wish to order a copy of our Books, Films or Scripts you can include the items to your message. We will reply with details about the order's amount, payment and shipping. Check the titles and enter the quantities from the list below.


    Ioannina, my Ioannina
    A Dog's Life
    Ten Gold Medals: Glory Or Freedom
    Greek Salad


    The Lost Synagogue Of Ioannina
    Beyond History: My Father
      & the Greek Jews of Albania


    I Never Danced With My Father
    Good Reasons
    The Jewish Image
    Farewell, My Island
    Lives To Save: The Rescuers
    We Are Not Alone:
      Greek Jews & The Holocaust
    Soul Saving:
      Common Threads Of Kindness


    Lives to Save: The Rescuers
    Break the Silence
    Raoul Wallenberg:
      One Person Can Make a Difference
    Common Ground
    Haym Salomon: Revolutionary War Angel
    1492: More Than Just Columbus
    Stand Up & Be Counted!


    The Trial of Susan B. Anthony
    Deborah Sampson: Revolutionary
      War Soldier
    Julia Dent Grant: The First, First Lady
    Mothers of Invention:
      Give Credit Where Credit is Due!
    Hapless Hazel's Hopeless Horror