How to Defend Yourself

Seven college students gather for a DIY self-defense workshop after a sorority sister is raped. They learn to use their bodies as weapons. They learn to fend off attackers. They learn “not to be a victim.” Learning self-defense becomes a channel for their rage, anxiety, confusion, trauma and desire – lots of desire. HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF explores what you want, how to ask for it, and the insidious ways rape...
Seven college students gather for a DIY self-defense workshop after a sorority sister is raped. They learn to use their bodies as weapons. They learn to fend off attackers. They learn “not to be a victim.” Learning self-defense becomes a channel for their rage, anxiety, confusion, trauma and desire – lots of desire. HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF explores what you want, how to ask for it, and the insidious ways rape culture steals one's body and sense of belonging.
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How to Defend Yourself

Recommended by

  • Nick Malakhow:
    16 Aug. 2019
    I was privileged to see the reading of this at Victory Gardens last summer--what an exquisitely crafted piece that gives us a dynamic mix of multi-dimensional characters who speak with honest and irregular humanity. Padilla is both sensitive and generous in their portrayal of each individual, while also not letting any of their characters off easily--their complexities and flaws are on full display. Between this and wholeness, padilla has also shown a knack for turning mundane everyday locations into highly theatrical spaces through the use of simultaneous action, repetition, and ritual. Hope this becomes canon on college campuses!
  • Shaun Leisher:
    29 Jul. 2019
    This play feels like it could be a straight up comedy but it goes to some very dark and complicated places. This is a play that I would definitely love to see be a part of the college/university theatre canon.
  • Emma Imes:
    5 May. 2019
    I was lucky enough to see this performed at the humana festival. It was the first time in years that I cried in public. I'm so grateful for this play.

Development History

  • Workshop
    ,
    Ojai Playwrights Conference
    ,
    2018
  • Workshop
    ,
    Victory Gardens Ignition Festival
    ,
    2018
  • Reading
    ,
    UC San Diego
    ,
    2017
  • Residency
    ,
    Anderson Center
    ,
    2017

Production History

  • Professional
    ,
    Victory Gardens Theatre
    ,
    2020
  • Professional
    ,
    Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival
    ,
    2019
  • University
    ,
    UC San Diego
    ,
    2018

Awards

Finalist
,
Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
,
2019
Winner
,
Yale Drama Series Prize
,
David Charles Horn Foundation
,
2019