“Jeffrey is warm, receptive, and has an expansive mind-palace of techniques and material waiting to be tapped. He has created an invigorating environment that encourages and supports exploration, inquiry, and play from his students. I’ve deeply appreciated the sincerity and compassion Jeffrey brings to his class, and his ability to tailor activities and material to the needs of both the individual and group, striking that delicate balance between work that is both challenging and just straight fun.”
(Christine Anderson, Portland, OR)
“My first, ever, role was as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Jeffrey Puukka, in September of 2019. Anyone who is familiar with ‘Streetcar’ is aware that it is a powerful and exceptionally well written play. Stanley is a dream of a role. Poor but hardworking, intelligent but uneducated, brutish, controlling, and abusive, Stanley is an intense character in an intimate and intense story which was famously censored in its film adaptation due to its heavy subject matter.
Jeffrey was intent from the start to present the story in its full, placing the audience firmly at the window of this tragedy. Jeffrey’s skillful and insightful understanding of building the audience experience coupled with his keen understanding of how to help his actors to reach emotional truths, made for a show that never failed to strike a visceral emotional chord in our audience. Reviews for the play were invariably glowing, ranging from statements of it being the best production of ‘Streetcar’ they had ever seen to a simple, tear stricken ‘Thank you.’
I have also had the pleasure of being one of Jeffrey’s students in his Monday Night Acting Lab. I have found him to be highly professional, knowledgeable, thoughtful, insightful, kind, open, respectful, and caring with his cast, his crew, and his students.”
(Daniel Donlon, Portland, OR)
“The magic of being simultaneously inside one’s comfort zone and outside it: Jeffrey has been able to strike the most graceful and fruitful of balances when it comes to making sure participants are stretched to their potential, without sacrificing the warmth and guidance that stand as testament to a gifted teacher and acting coach.”
(Ani Elizaveta, Los Angeles / New York).
“Vigorous, engaging theatre.” … “A three hours of unrelenting intensity. It seems that every line carries a powerful emotional punch.” (Women of Troy reviewed by Richard Wattenberg, The Oregonian).
“I want to endorse Jeffrey as being a thoughtful director. He is supportive and skilled at bringing out the best in actors. I have really enjoyed working with him. If I were preparing an audition, I would find his advice valuable. If you are considering this offer, proceed with confidence.”
(Jen Gosnell, Actor and Voice-over Artist)
“The thing that makes Jeffrey stand out to me is how good he is at bringing out YOUR brilliance. He doesn’t impose anything but instead, like any good teacher, helps you discover your own excellence. His coaching is insightful, deeply useful, expertly tailored to YOU. He responds to your desires and needs (no matter how diverse or wide ranging) and is able to provide coaching that exactly fits what you’re looking for. He’s also kind, essentially ego-less, and absolutely willing to acknowledge the limits of his expertise (eg, he won’t try to sell himself to you if he doesn’t think he has anything to offer). Looking for help with technique? Work with Jeffrey. Looking for text analysis? Work with Jeffrey. Character development? Jeffrey. Stage fright? Jeffrey. Personal confidence or fear? Getting into or back into acting? Jeffrey. Want a dramaturge or editor or provider of thoughtful feedback? Jeffrey.”
(Lyra Butler-Denman, Actor and Dance-Artist)
“I went into our first class expecting to hate every single tick of my Rolex until 9:30 pm … but surprised the hell out of myself by wishing my very reliable watch was less reliable. I came home from class wired for hours. It happens every class.
When I started the class, I did not speak in public. But now I’m finding my voice and I’m less afraid of it.
When I started the class, I did not want to be seen. But now I’ve stood alone on a stage and I can’t wait to be standing on that stage again.
When I started the class, I couldn’t write. Not a word. It wasn’t writer’s block. I could not create … and creativity is everything. But now I’ve submitted two short fiction pieces. I float in that feeling of lost time and lovely words and running out of toner.
Acting feeds my need to create – it is addictive. I want to learn more. I want to do more.”
(N. Campbell, Monday Night Acting Lab participant.)
“With simple additions like contemporary music and iPhones, director Jeffrey Puukka demonstrates the continuously relevant story arch of ‘Streetcar‘ in today’s society. This modern production deftly depicts how the reaction to rape victims has never really changed in the years since the play opened on Broadway in 1947. The play also illuminates the different ways people confront the topic with the people in their lives.
The production choreographs the simultaneous goings-on in every room of Stella and Stanley’s small New Orleans home, and on the porch and street outside their front door. The set design is ironic, with floating windows and empty door frames. The set is made without walls, yet the characters obviously have several emotional walls between each other.
This disconnect is expertly depicted by Lyra Butler-Denman (Blanche), Leila Villasenor (Stella) and Daniel Donlon (Stanley).”
(Brittany Allen, reviewing A Streetcar Named Desire, for The Sandy Post / Pamplin Media Group)
“Jeffrey’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire at Sandy Actor’s Theatre is the finest production of this play I have ever seen (I’ve seen five stage productions of Streetcar.) This staging shines light on the evils of misogyny, and painfully reminds us of the incredible stigma and misunderstanding most of us have on mental illness. The production was made for our time–with the “MeToo” movement moving us into greater understanding of sexual and domestic violence.
…I believe that this production of Streetcar reminds us WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION to do the right thing. The play is THAT moving.”
“Jeffrey Puukka has directed a gripping must-see theatre event. His cast poured their hearts, minds and bodies into this show and I’ve never heard the beauty of Tennessee’s words, nor felt the power of his anti-misogyny and anti-violence message as strongly before. This show does not shy away from brutal truths. This show magnifies the voices of two powerful sisters who endure pain, hardship and injustice. The love they feel for each other and the joy they spark is infectious. They are trying to make sense of the world and thrive. Their stories are 100% relevant today.”