Entertaining through both trickery and diversion, MAZE founder Jim Munroe is a self-proclaimed liar and teller of truths. After all, an illusion is just a lie dressed up as a miracle, isn’t it? But there’s something else Munroe offers during his shows that he wants to be very clear about.
After an hour of magic, Munroe gives the audience a choice. They can stay and hear his thoughts on faith or they can go, having enjoyed one of magic’s top performers without hearing his story.
“People might see it as a bait-and-switch, but that’s not what’s happening. There’s a very distinct moment,” said Munroe.
Though Munroe has been intrigued by magic most of his life, he has not always believed in God.
“I was an atheist, pure and simple,” he said. At the University of Texas, Munroe played what he calls “intellectual chess” with friends who were Christian because he was a skeptic. Munroe studied psychology, business, and religious studies, but eventually found himself making a living from magic.
By 2009, Munroe was touring hundreds of cities and selling out shows. It was also the year he was diagnosed with leukemia and everything changed.
“I almost lost my life. Not almost. I had a 13% chance of survival,” said Munroe. He described his experience of survival as a medical and philosophical miracle. A few years later he wrote The Charlatan: The Skeptical, Mysterious, Supernatural True Story of a Christian Magician.
When Munroe says his show is really good, he means it. The MAZE shares a producer with world-class illusionists David Blaine, Criss Angel, and Michael Carbonaro. Munroe and his team will bring a 32-foot trailer to OSU, chock-full of technological equipment. If you’ve never seen a high-tech magic show in real life, you’ll have the chance to experience something truly mind-blowing.
The MAZE will also be on campus because of Munroe’s work with Be the Match, the National Bone Marrow Registry’s recruitment team. This is the organization that saved Munroe’s life, so he’s paying it forward. Audience members will have the opportunity to become potential donors.
Munroe understands that the second half of the show isn’t for everybody, but what he offers is a chance to think about what’s behind the curtain. He said, “A magic trick shows you that there can be two realities happening at the exact same time: the one you’re experiencing with your five senses and the one that you know is going on behind the scenes, the one you can’t explain because you don’t know what to look for or how to look for it.” This is also how Munroe experiences faith. He’s not trying to convert you, he just wants to offer his perspective. If nothing else, Munroe sees his story as a conversation starter.
The MAZE holds a free performance at LaSells Stewart Center on Wednesday, May 3. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. To learn more about Jim Munroe, visit http://whatisthemaze.com/.
By Anika Lautenbach