Whatever else Milton Keynes is famous for, it isn’t reknowned for producing top class actresses, writes Anne Green.
However, this might be about to change thanks to the extremely talented Makenna Guyler, who is heading for what looks like a great acting career.
Makenna already has a long string of film credits on her CV, including one of the lead roles in the feature film ‘David and Goliath’, which was released in cinemas in the United States and was also distributed on US Netflix.
Makenna, pictured below on the red carpet at the Los Angeles premiere of David and Goliath, also starred in the independently produced film ‘Harbour’ at the London sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge last year.
Makenna is now branching out from movie roles with a London production of ‘The Monologues of a Tired Nurse’ at Barons Court Theatre.
This play was first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016. It was written by Stephanie Silver, a nurse in real life, who therefore obviously knows what she is writing about.
The play presents a no holds barred view of life working as a nurse in the NHS today, and explores the relationship between experienced nurse Sally and newly qualified nurse Emily, played by Makenna.
Makenna spoke about her feelings about starring on stage after concentrating on film work for such a long time.
“Initially it was very nerve wracking,” she said. “All my training had a heavy emphasis in theatre when I was younger, and I was lucky enough to be cast in several musicals in Milton Keynes Theatre with my drama school.
“However, I hadn’t actively been on a stage in about seven years, so naturally I was quite nervous going back to a completely different skill set after such a long time, especially with ‘The Monologues of a Tired Nurse’ being such an emotional, important play.
“But the writing is incredible – credit to Stephanie Silver, who is literally a superwoman, setting up her own theatre company, writing, acting and working as a nurse herself.
“The play is grounded in such a truth, and based off of some of her experiences, so having her there with me made it all so much easier for me to come into the nursing world, which I was completely unfamiliar with.
“Once I got the first couple of rehearsals under my belt, I fell in love with the characters and the story and that all seemed to take over. It’s such a different ball game to screen acting.
“I’m definitely interested in pursuing more theatre work now alongside the screen work – I can’t wait to do it again!”
The show will return to Barons Court Theatre from July 10 to 16.
One reviewer wrote that the play made her want “to hug the first nurse I bumped into.”
Members of the nursing profession also love the play. Makenna said: “Some of the feedback we’ve had from nurses who have come to see the play is phenomenal, and just makes it all the more exciting to perform.”
Theatre performances on the fringe are notoriously difficult to finance and the fact that some future performances of the play have been sourced by crowdfunding demonstrates how well this performance has been received by the public.
So having experienced both film and the theatre, which does Makenna prefer?
“That’s such a hard question to answer. They are just so different.
“I do love the intricacy of film, that everything is so close and magnified, but the feeling of being in a room telling a story in front of that audience live is a feeling like no other.”
Milton Keynes has played a pivotal role in Makenna’s journey to where she is now.
Makenna moved to Milton Keynes with her family when she was a tiny tot and started drama lessons at the age of seven at the Diamond School of Performing Arts in Newport Pagnell. As a child she starred in TV commercials and adverts in other media.
Makenna explained what Milton Keynes has meant to her: “The film/theatre network in Milton Keynes is amazing.
“I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many talented individuals who work in both theatre and film here, and it becomes almost like this little family.
“You end up bumping into each other on sets, reworking with teams, or meeting people and finding out you’ve worked with the same person somewhere along the line, and it just makes it such an enjoyable experience for me.”
Makenna will now be continuing with both film and theatre work. She is in preproduction for the lead role in a feature film which will be shooting in Italy later this year.
She explained: “I get to work with an award winning director, an awesome cast and it’s quite a challenging role, so I’m really looking forward to it!”
The good news is that you will have a chance to see Makenna in ‘The Monologues of a Tired Nurse’ this summer at two fringe festivals.
It will be at the Wandsworth Fringe in May, and then at the Camden Fringe in August.
This gives you an opportunity to see Makenna on stage and to see a true MK star on the rise.
Picture credits: ‘The Monologues of a Tired Nurse’ photos by Jennifer Evans.
Makenna Guyler is represented by the London-based Personal Management Company Boland & Reeve. Contact Michael on 0207 998 3290.
Tickets for ‘The Monologues of a Tired Nurse’ at the Wandsworth Fringe are available at: http://www.wandsworthfringe.com/whats-on/the-monologues-of-a-tired-nurse