What’s in your maze?

Jim Mu

Jim Munroe uses magic to tell his life story. (Photo Courtesy of What is the Maze Group? via Flickr Creative Commons)

Jim Munroe made a promise to himself. If he lived to tell the tale of his battle with leukemia, he would devote his life to sharing his story. Munroe works to fulfill his promise and delivers it in a way that captivates the masses while convincing them to buy into his message. Munroe does not want to simply speak, but rather he desires to turn his story into something relevant to everyone. Munroe seamlessly accomplishes this task, but with a special twist.

The Maze is not just a magic show, it is a social experiment. On Oct. 13 in the Sottile Theatre, students had the opportunity to experience this socially experimental performance. Munroe began his show with a bang when he utilized two random audience participants who then helped him swallow a piece of string which appeared as a hair on his stomach. Both participants were required to help remove the string from Munroe’s stomach, and did so with a cringe. The audience became awestruck, and from that point on was hooked, hanging onto his every word and action. Although an impressive trick, magic was not the point of Munroe’s show. Magic was simply used as a backdrop to exaggerate each point he aimed to make.

Munroe’s magic tricks explored five different topics that he delivered as potential answers to the maze. Each individual bears their own maze: a hardship in their lives when one must decide which way to turn for answers. In depicting five probable answers, Munroe began with money, then explored true love, intuition, religion and belief. Every topic highlighted a possible perception of how to navigate the maze. Belief was a fan favorite. Munroe pulled three anxious participants on stage to assist him in blowing the audience’s minds. Initially, he asked a tall brunette to choose a random number from the phone book, then share it with the crowd as a second volunteer wrote the number on a sheet of paper. The third participant was asked to make sure the magician was not cheating, by holding a roll of paper containing a message for the duration of the trick. As the trick came to a close, each and every jaw in the audience dropped one by one. Munroe revealed that the exact phone number the brunette read from the phone book was pasted on the roll of paper the third participant held. The audience gasped and broke into applause, at which point Munroe explained that it is okay to believe there is no maze, and perhaps everything that happens in life is by chance. Like this one, each trick entailed a similar small message.

(Photo Courtesy of What is the Maze Group? via Flickr Creative Common

Munroe’s magic tricks captivate the audience as he points to a deeper message. (Photo Courtesy of What is the Maze Group? via Flickr Creative Commons)

From there, he transitioned into part two of the show: telling his story. After being diagnosed with leukemia, Munroe was given two months to live. At this point, Munroe discovered his own maze, and felt he was searching for an answer that did not exist. Munroe provided the audience with the opportunity to leave, for he was about to discuss how he developed his Christian faith. Shockingly, not a soul in the room moved: Munroe’s words had enticed every ear. Munroe was saved by a bone marrow transplant. The doctors found only one person in the world whose blood would be a match. Luckily, she happily obliged to saving Munroe’s life. All in all, Munroe stressed that his story of survival paralleled the story of Jesus’s resurrection, thus planting his faith.

Much like the magic, religion was beside the point. What Munroe desired to do was stretch the minds of the audience in a way that each individual would begin to question the maze of their own life. He flawlessly planted the thoughts and triggered the audience to contemplate what their answers would be. A maze may not have any answers, just as a maze may have a plethora of answers based off of the perceiver at hand.

“Every human has been diagnosed with HPTFU,” Munroe said. “It stands for human potential to screw things up.” Because of the diagnosis, Munroe feels everyone has a maze; everyone is searching for answers. He desires to share his story to be the living proof that there is an answer even when it seems there are none. Munroe got his message across effectively, and he did it through magic.

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