NEW YORK (AP) _ Marc Salem, who bills himself as a mentalist, holds audience interest while working in a narrow range of mystification and, even more amazingly, provides friendly audience participation.

Even people who hate audience participation relax and enjoy it at Salem's ``Mindgames.'' His 90-minute show, in which he allegedly ``reads'' minds, opened Monday at the off-Broadway Westside Theater.

In a typical episode, Salem wads up a piece of paper and throws it into the audience. The person who catches it stands up, says his name and a number, and then throws the paper to someone else. That person stands, says her name and a number, and throws the paper again. The person who catches it repeats. Then Salem opens an envelope and displays a paper with the three names and numbers.

Some people volunteer to join Salem on stage. A teen-age boy volunteers, says he's good at math and adds numbers called out from the audience. Later, a cassette player is unzipped from a case and played. Out comes Salem's voice to announce the same total as the boy.

Salem is blindfolded and describes what an audience member holds under his hands. He has three people open books, read a word and fix it in their minds. Then he spells the words.

He makes watches speed forward and tells several children, who wrote about recent trips on cards which they put in a bowl, where they went and whether they had a good time.

Salem's program biography says he studies how the mind creates reality. Most of the audience didn't know how he did what he did but were as comfortable in the small Westside Theater as in their own living rooms.