Just an Illusion


Junior Jett Skrien has performed his illusion shows across the country and internationally.

Before performing his large-scale illusion “Metamorphosis,” junior Jett Skrien brings two audience members onstage to chain his hands together and inspect a trunk that he will soon be trapped inside.

Skrien steps into a velvet bag, which his assistant draws up over his body and ties it above his neck with a rope. With a graceful flourish, she locks him in the trunk before climbing to stand on top, where she wields a red curtain that briefly obscures her from sight. Immediately, the curtain freefalls to the ground, revealing not the assistant but the magician standing there—with a smile that says he’s just as pleased as the audience that is screaming for more.

“This cool thing called magic can bring genuine joy and happiness to people,” Skrien says. “You can be fully present in the moment, look out and see everyone smiling. It’s the best feeling.”

Inspired at an early age by a magician who brought him onstage, Skrien has been performing since the age of 10. The theatre major takes his card tricks and grand escapes across the country and internationally, finding that language barriers disappear at the sight of a signed dollar bill that leaves its owner’s hands and shows up inside a piece of fruit.

Now 21, the Marshall, Minnesota, native estimates he’s presented nearly 1,000 shows. He plans to move to a bigger entertainment scene after graduation. During the pandemic, Skrien searched out venues close to Northwestern, including a performance for an Orange City Bible study that revealed the secrets to his faith.

“I can get you to believe many things, but they’re just clever illusions,” Skrien says. “Truth is true whether you believe in it or not.”

Northwestern encouraged Skrien’s passion from the start, providing space for his trailer and rehearsals. He looks forward to performing on campus once pandemic restrictions vanish into virus-free air.

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