Electrifying  | 

Irish actor who survived being struck by lightning turned experience into play

"I went into cardiac arrest. I was burned inside out, including my chest, shoulders and back."

David Gilna when The Unsung Hero played in Swords

Eugene Masterson

Dubliner David Gilna (36) had gone to the US on a J1 visa in 2004 and was about to start working on a movie with Vin Diesel when he was struck by a bolt of lightning while on the balcony of a Boston house.

“It was a beautiful day and it was completely out of the blue,” he recalls.

“It hit me on my right hand, earthed out of my left foot and sent me back into the room. I was wearing a t-shirt, shorts and boots and the boots had completely melted and my chain melted too.”

“I went into cardiac arrest. I was burned inside out, including my chest, shoulders and back.

“I was blessed I wasn’t more severely burned.”

David spent five nights in intensive care in Boston where he underwent rehabilitation and was then sent for more treatment in Florida, lasting five months.

He then returned home and has appeared in several plays and films since.

His new play ‘A Bolt from D’Blue’ will be unveiled in New York next Saturday and had been meant to tour America last year but was scrapped due to the pandemic.

But now his electrifying story of being hit by lightning on a beautiful sunny day will get its first viewing in the Big Apple.

David Gilna at Swords Castle. (pic by Fintan Clarke)

The play is part of the 14th annual Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival, the world's only theatre festival devoted to producing and presenting the theatrical work of contemporary Irish playwrights from around the world.

Produced by Origin Theatre Company, now in its 19th year, and under the first-year leadership of artistic director Michael Mellamphy, 1st Irish 2022 is running three weeks from January 9 to 31.

David, who hails from Swords, featured recently in the acclaimed feature film ‘The Letters’ By Robbie Walsh acting opposite Mary Murray as a loan shark.

Further details on https://www.newyorkirishcenter.org.

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