Marc Salem describes himself as someone who's been "a student of the human mind" for more than 30 years.
When he performs an exclusive two-night engagement next weekend at Theatre at the Center in Munster to present his "Mind Over Munster" customized show, he likes his audiences to know, right from the start, that he's not going to be "bending spoons."
"Mine is a show that is very different and definitely a show the whole family will enjoy," Salem said, speaking by telephone from his home on the East Coast.
"I want people to be both entertained and amazed at what they experience."
Billed as "a series of mesmerizing mind games," created and performed by mentalist Salem, his performances at Theatre at the Center are Friday, Aug. 23 and Saturday, Aug. 24.
He uses psychological techniques, quick wit and a sharp eye to "break the lock on the brain," as he describes it, and raise fascinating questions on the human psyche.
Holding degrees at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University, Salem has been an authority on non-verbal communication for more than 20 years and has traveled the globe exploring the mind and its potential. He even served as a director of research at "Sesame Street," studying the development and nature of the mental process.
He has performed both on Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as extended engagements at the famed Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Edinburgh Festival and Singapore's Esplanade, as well as London's West End.
"There's also a dose of humor and some funny moments, but never at the expense of the audience," Salem said.
"It's a show to laugh and learn together."
He said the fascinating interactive stage show engages viewers in a series of humorous interactive exercises, as he journeys deep into the blending of thought, judgment, emotions and perceptions.
He credits The Amazing Kreskin as his own mentor, and not a competitor.
"Even before Kreskin rose to popularity, before him, there was The Amazing Joseph Dunninger, who was famous from his start on the vaudeville circuit and in later years, nightclubs and early television. He wasn't happy about Kreskin, the new kid, emerging on the scene, and I never wanted that to be the case with my bookings, since Kreskin is also still playing dates."
Dunniger died at age 82 in 1975, while The Amazing Kreskin is 78 and still busy with his own performances.
Salem promises audiences are never disappointed with his show.
"Even though there's no decks of cards or hypnotism, there's still plenty to be amazed about," he said.