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Shoot the moon

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Usually this time of year, Jewish Theatre of the South stages a Hanukkah-themed alternative to the inescapable Christmas shows at virtually every local playhouse. Past seasons saw Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins and Hula-Hoopin' Hannah and Her Hanukkah Adventure, but the theater breaks its tradition with Capture the Moon, running Dec. 9-23.

Based on an Eastern European Jewish folk tale, Capture the Moon never mentions the holiday, and has nary a hula hoop or Hanukkah goblin in sight. Instead, it has puppetry and flash animation, which evoke the play's monsters and magic.

In Capture the Moon, playwrights Ernest Joslevitz and Harry Bagdasian bring to life one of the legends of the Wise Men of Chelm. "They're really fools, but in their foolishness they sometimes do smart things," says artistic director Mira Hirsch.

The Wise Men send young Yossel (Jake Berne) on a mission to apprehend moonlight so the villagers can see their way on dark Sabbath nights. On the way, Yossel meets a neighboring village of Christians, and Capture the Moon offers a lesson in learning to trust other cultures.

All holidays aside, some messages are appropriate any season of the year.Capture the Moon runs Dec. 9-23 at Jewish Theatre of the South, Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Thurs. and Sat., 7 p.m.; Sun., 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Dec. 20-23, 10:30 a.m. $10-$12. 770-395-2654. www.atlantajcc.org.

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