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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

Miriam Pultro’s “Midsummer” Love

To film or not to film, that is the question. Recent years have shown that the talented bard William Shakespeare is a well-liked commodity in film, and actress and writer Miriam Pultro finds the answers to the popular verse while filming her modernized adaptation of William Shakespeare’s adored play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Midsummer.

Image Credit: Lisa Hancock

The unique and bright spin on Shakespeare’s play adapted by Miriam Pultro is smart, humorous and clever. “We’ve changed the setting, not just the era,” Pultro says. “A lot of adaptations play with the era for the sake of freshness or art direction, but I don’t often see the time period reinterpreting the action. The story plays out as usual [and] changing the setting for Midsummer puts a really different spin on the entire story.”

Born and raised in Philadelphia, the New York native dabbled in pretty much every inventive field growing up. “I’ve been performing since I was a kid; singing in church, doing school musicals, and also reading and writing constantly,” she reveals. “I tried a lot of different art forms before settling on acting.”

Nurturing her love for the arts through education and community theater, Pultro went on to studying music in college and moved to New York where she began converging her passions to pursue acting in film. She discloses to me how she has a deep connection to the uniquely human fact of storytelling and the need to express such intensity. “I feel the need to be a part of the art. Having a paintbrush or pencil attached to my hand never felt as natural as singing and acting.”

Pultro merged her imaginative side with her childhood dream when adapting her favorite Shakespearean play. “I’ve dreamed of doing it since I was a kid,” she tells me. While in high school, Pultro had the opportunity to do a Puck monologue and shares how she always had such a fascination with fairies, magic, and fantasy, revealing that she designed the fairy makeup when her sister’s class performed the play some few years ago.

When she adapted Midsummer, it only took a few days to write the screenplay; in part to using most of the original text while making minor cuts where it needed to make sense of the setting. It’s the perfect formula too: blend the world’s most renowned playwright with today’s most popular and beloved medium to create a modern re-telling of an English classic. In Pultro’s version of the whimsical comedy, characters are altered a bit from the original. The Athenian lovers are students whereas Hippolyta for example is a diva; The Mechanicals are a community troupe; and The Fairies are cleverly modified into theater ghosts, or as Pultro puts it, “faded Ziegfeld-era stars,” adding that the egos at work in the play become even more comical.

“It’s like when you see a bunch of little kids performing and they’re knocking each other over so they can be in front and be ‘the star’. Everybody’s more desperate for attention,” she says, conveying that such dreamy elements from Shakespeare’s play can be found through the actors and their individual performances. With the amount of quirk and wit put into such an updated adaptation, it made sense that casting was imperative to Pultro. “We needed actors who could handle the language—who would be enthusiastic about the indie production style, but who would also suit our reinvention of the characters,” she shares.

The cast of the award winning series, “Mythos” in a press photo with Pultro, Mark Banik (L) and Tyler Herwick (R). Banik stars in “Midsummer” as Demetrius. Image Credit: Shervin Lainez

By setting the plot in the milieu of a theater, Pultro reveals how the characters are wholly reborn. “Hippolyta’s heckling of The Mechanicals, for example, becomes amazingly obvious as the condescension of a fellow performer. We cast Kelly Warne, who’s the funniest woman I know; striking at 5’9” with flowing red hair. She’s absolutely brilliant and will probably steal the show with a role that in most cases never stands out,” Pultro gushes.

Pultro shares how she imagined The Athenian lovers as students and structured them into school-like stereotypes such as the princess, the band kid, the jock, etcetera. “Demetrius is kind of an a**hole, so obviously he’s the jock,” she laughs. Casting good friend and the talented, Mark Banik was the ideal choice for her as the arrogant Athenian. Banik and Pultro have worked together several times now and shares that Banik is tall, handsome and absolutely perfect for her interpretation of the role, disclosing that he was the first one she cast.

Rebecca Kopec who plays Hermia in Midsummer has nothing but praise for Pultro, sharing with me how much she truly admires her and is in awe of everything she’s achieved. “She is one of the biggest go-getters I’ve ever met,” Kopec says. “I don’t know anyone that works harder than she does. When she gets an idea for a project, she just goes full steam ahead and makes it happen no matter the obstacles. Working with her has definitely made me up my game and realize that if I want something, I can just go ahead and reach for it and everything will somehow magically fall into place.”

With Pultro casting Kopec as Hermia, Kopec is not the traditional type for such a role but Pultro envisioning the choice allowed for a greater emphasis to Demetrius’ fickleness. “Casting Rebecca also influenced what we needed in a Lysander—someone gentle and artistic, someone who doesn’t seem so ambitious, someone a dad might not really approve of,” Pultro shares.

As well as producing and writing Midsummer, Pultro is starring as the scheming and adroit fairy Puck. Pultro is known for playing smart, dark and witty characters and points out that she’s never seen the fairy played by others with the darkness she knows he has in him.

“He’s not evil, but he is manipulative, detached, and wild. My personal belief is that Puck is deliberately mixing things up—he gets a kick out of chaos,” she smiles. “I don’t think he feels any obligation to set things right. I think he just gets bored quickly. He also has the biggest ego of all: he addresses the audience directly at the end. It’s his world, and all the other characters just live in it.”

Midsummer will be shot in no more than three days as Pultro and crew are currently scouting theaters in New York and Long Island. “It’s a little insane,” she laughs, “But we’re attacking it [all] as if it is a theater production—if you can perform the entire play in one night, and our scenes all take place in the same building, technically we ought to be able to pull it off! It means only a couple takes per shot, a super tight schedule, and a few long, amazing days.”

Pultro in a scene from the first season of “Mythos”. Image Credit: The Ivy League.

Scouting locations is fun for the former stage performer. Through the years the young actress has done her fair share of theater and musical theater, starring in such productions like Rent as Mimi, Beauty & The Beast as Belle, and the lead in Persephone; a role garnering her much acclaim.

From theater, she made a successful transition to film and television, as well as mainstream with smaller parts in Boardwalk Empire, The Social Network and voice-over work for Pokemon but shares how theater has been one of the most important experiences in her career.

“Theater prepares you for a lot,” she says about her stage days. “The mentality of the ‘the show must go on’ is something I think no actor can function without. You don’t get breaks, you don’t get to call ‘cut’ or redo [a take]. You have to power through. It’s exhilarating.”

Pultro feels inspired by an array of women in the entertainment industry, particularly Lena Heady, Eva Green, Joan Allen, and Judi Dench, just to name a few. “They’ve carved out excellent careers playing an awesome variety of smart characters who are slight left-of-center. That’s the career I dream of,” she says.

As far as writing-producing sides go, Pultro looks to Tina Fey for huge inspiration. “She does it all and still has a solid personal life,” she exclaims. “I can’t think of another woman right now who’s writing, producing, directing, and starring in her own material, and doing all of them well.”

Pultro, like Tina Fey is on her way up. Her claim to fame so far isn’t a role in a film or television series, but the evident fact that this promising starlet is self-made. Her passions and motives are inextricably tied up with that of the American dream as she works hard, and for all intent and purpose she is an independent woman. In a few short years, Pultro has attained great achievements through hard work and sheer will power.

Pultro has received much praise, including an Indie Soap Award for Best Actress in the web-series, Mythos; a character driven, mythology-based series about mortality, family, love and fate. The diligent Pultro wrote, produced and directed the next-to-no-money production that has now been accepted into the Independent Television Festival and Melbourne Web Fest. Pultro shares that she is currently writing the second season of Mythos for the past nine months, disclosing, “I am a nerd, so it is an epic,” as well as securing funding to produce it.

 “It’s been an amazing year,” she beams. “I’m so grateful to have been recognized, it’s amazingly encouraging! Stuff like that keeps you going.”

“I feel a need to be part of the art. Having a paintbrush or pencil attached to my hand never felt as natural as singing and acting,” says Pultro. Image Credit: Tim Goodwin

Don’t let that make you believe Pultro hasn’t gone through the cycles of life with the ups and downs in an industry that is anything but easy. There are days the young actress feels uninspired. She shares how constantly being inspired is a definite need for her. “When I’m feeling my worst, I’ll have moments where I react by thinking, ‘I’m done.’ But even as I’m saying it, I know it’s not true,” she says. “I’d never have the willpower to follow through with quitting, moving away, burying this part of me to actively do something else. I’d never even make it to the bus stop. So eventually, I suck it up, drink wine, and pour myself into whatever my next dream project is.”

Pultro has a couple of gigs down the horizon and shared that she will be shooting a SAG feature in August called Come and Get Your Love. Though she’s just acting in it, she says with a laugh that it will be a bit of a vacation for her in consideration to all the writing and producing she has been involved with for the last few months. Other than that, she will continue to audition and dream up any other projects she can commit to.

It’s known in life that some are destined to succeed but in the case of Miriam Pultro, she’s strong-minded in her unwavering journey to success as her willpower gives her great resolve to keep going. “Don’t wait for anybody else to give you an opportunity,” she tells me. “If you want to act, write something for yourself to act in [and] don’t be afraid to ask for help. Eventually, you will find it.”

Wherever the determined go, a way can be found.

To learn more about Midsummer and keep up to date with production, follow the film on their official website and Facebook.

To catch up on the award-winning first season of Mythos, visit their official website and be sure to follow the acclaimed web-series on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates on the upcoming second season!

Actress, writer, producer-extraordinaire Miriam Pultro can be found at her official website and IMDb. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

Connect with Tania Hussain on Twitter and Google+!
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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Miriam Pultro’s “Midsummer” Love | westlifebunny - July 18, 2013

    […] Continue reading… […]

  2. ‘Mythos’ Makes Waves and Soars with ‘Sea and Sky’ | The Hudsucker - April 7, 2014

    […] such web series is Mythos, written and produced by the remarkably talented, Miriam Pultro. In an industry where less than 10% of women produce or direct films, it’s refreshing to see […]

  3. “Mythos” Makes Waves and Soars with “Sea and Sky” | westlifebunny - April 7, 2014

    […] such web series is Mythos, written and produced by the remarkably talented, Miriam Pultro. In an industry where less than 10% of women produce or direct films, it’s refreshing to see […]

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