I was born amid the rumble and flash of a thunderstorm. And for as long as I can remember, or ever since I began to notice, I have been curious about that exciting, ‘unseen energy’. What we feel but cannot see.
That lively buzz that sometimes flows in the space between people.
The curious resonance that can draw you sometimes, when something catches your eye.
The mysterious little tingle you might feel crossing through a particular doorway.
I love those moments, they bring me to life. So, it’s no mystery that I’ve found my way to working with actors…
And when I’m working on projects—or if I’m coaching you—my selfish, underlying hope is that we discover our own ways toward more of those moments, where a performance flickers with life.
As a director
As a director I want to make theatre that is palpable, and fearless. If I want to do that, I need actors who not only want to do that with me, but who can do that.
So, I teach classes and coach actors 1:1.
I am deeply curious about actors. I’m drawn to helping actors unlock the audacity, skills, and awareness to work with generous bravery, and shine.
I believe creativity suffers without trust. Trust is only possible in feelings of safety.
Because of that, I am radically committed to kindness as the bedrock of the working environment I set.
*ahem* [Clears throat].
We are all just people. We should do what we love.
That’s what I’m doing. I hope you are too.
Here’s the official version.
Jeffrey Puukka is a coffee-loving fellow of Finnish and Irish roots.
Some favorite projects from twenty years of directing include Steven Dietz’ This Random World and Polly Teale’s Mermaid (Metropolitan Performing Arts), Bardo in collaboration with dance artist and actor Lyra Butler-Denman, David Adjmi’s Elective Affinities, presented in Portland OR, Edinburgh, and Cambodia (SAVE WORLD ART / Worcester Productions), Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (Sandy Actor’s Theatre), as well as his own adaptations of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Women of Troy based on Euripides’ plays Hecuba and The Trojan Women.
Other writing and adaptation: Jeffrey has written and directed adaptations of Oedipus, as well as Antigone by Sophocles, and Phedre based on plays by Euripides and Racine. Jeffrey conceived the text for and directed a production of The Readiness Is All, an intermingling of iconic moments from six Shakespeare plays. Similarly, Jeffrey conceived the text for and directed a production of A Midnight Dreary, which dramatized selections of writing from Edgar Allen Poe. Jeffrey’s play The Tower Maiden’s Daughter wove dynamics from Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, and Snow White and The Seven Dwarves into a single narrative.
Teaching: in addition to his independent coaching and classes, Jeffrey has taught acting for Metropolitan Performing Arts, Mt. Hood Community College, the American Association of Community Theatres, and the Parks and Recreation platform of the City of Gresham.
Following his production of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Jeffrey was invited to talk about his production and Tennessee Williams with American Theatre History students at Washington State University.
Since 2004, Jeffrey has collaborated frequently as an Interpretive Speaking coach for Sam Barlow High School’s nationally recognized Speech and Debate team.
ANTI-RACISM COMMITMENT / COLLABORATION PHILOSOPHY
Jeffrey Puukka welcomes people of all races, ages, religions, political affiliations, genders, countries of origin, sexual orientations, sizes, and abilities into collaboration with him, and the projects he facilitates as an independent theatre practitioner. Jeffrey is committed to anti-racism as a core thread of his own ongoing education, and a core value in his ongoing independent practice.