One might say junior Jak Creatlach, a theater major with a studio art minor, has many identities, among them student, artist, magician and actor. Despite these changing identities, Creatlatch will always consider himself a performer.
Creatlach is the creator of the unorthodox “shock magic” show known as The Phreekshow. Rather than pulling a rabbit from a hat, Creatlach – along with his fellow magicians and performers in The Phreekshow – executes more chilling stunts like sawing people in half and then stapling them back together.
“I started The Phreekshow because I wanted to bring audiences something new, something that encompasses more feelings than an ordinary magic show – other than just amazement,” Creatlach said. “I wanted to let people inside of my head.”
As the “ring monster” of this “dark carnival” performance, Creatlach, along with a gaggle of zombie clown and harlequin assistants, levitates volunteers and conjures up bloody knives and razors.
“[The Phreekshow is] described by some of the fans as David Copperfield mixed with The Nightmare Before Christmas and a whole bunch of other ludicrous nonsense,” Creatlach said. “Basically the idea is to scare the shit out of you and to have fun while doing it.”
The Phreekshow is based in Creatlach’s hometown of Mayfield, N.Y. and most of its members were originally Creatlach’s friends. The group performs at parties as well as other events, often showcasing their talents at venues throughout New York and at events like “First Night New Year’s Extravaganza” in Fulton, N.Y.
The Phreekshow is currently on a short-term hiatus while Creatlach is away at school but performances will recommence in the summer.
Creatlach handles the business aspect of The Phreekshow and books both small traveling shows and large-scale stage shows for the group. A large-scale Phreekshow performance this Halloween attracted over 800 attendees. The troupe of Phreeks also recently traveled to Florida and performed in many different states along the way.
Creatlach said that he has difficulty pinpointing when his passion for performing began, but he said he recalls when he became interested in magic.
“My mom made the mistake of buying a magic kit when I was seven. That started the whole thing,” he said.
He also attended a summer camp near his hometown that year, where he developed the skills that he continues to utilize in The Phreekshow. The camp included courses on clowning, magic, puppetry, art and horror movie make-up.
Creatlach went on to act at his high school and surrounding theaters where he performed in shows such as “Pippin,” “Guys and Dolls,” “columbinus” and “Footloose.”
Creatlach said that his biggest inspiration for The Phreekshow is Lance Burton, a retired magician and owner of the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, whom Creatlach said is “a classic [magician].”
In May, Creatlach will wrap up his first semester at Geneseo after recently transferring from Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown, N.Y. He said he chose to attend Geneseo because of the wide range of liberal arts courses offered.
Since transferring here, Creatlach has involved himself in a variety of on-campus theatrical productions. He is currently performing in “The Laramie Project,” a play that will hit the KnightSpot April 13 - 15 as a part of the Queer Theatre Festival.