How to Defend Yourself Liliana Padilla, Ayad Akhtar

Yale Drama Series
Publication date:
27 Oct 2020
Yale University Press
160 pages: 229 x 140 x 11mm
Sales territories:

A Yale Drama Series-winning play about self-defense, desire, and healing in the aftermath of a college rape

Seven college students gather for a DIY self-defense workshop after a sorority sister is raped. They practice using their bodies as weapons. They wrestle with their desires. They learn the limits of self-defense.
This new play by writer, director, actor, and community builder Liliana Padilla explores the intersection of sex, community, and what it means to heal in a violent world. Padilla shows how learning self-defense becomes a channel for these college students’ rage, anxiety, confusion, trauma, and desire. The play examines what one wants, how to ask for it, and the ways rape culture threatens one’s body and sense of belonging.
It is the thirteenth winner of the Yale Drama Series prize and the second one chosen by Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Ayad Akhtar.

Liliana Padilla makes stories about belonging, healing, and transformation. How to Defend Yourself premiered at the Humana Festival and Victory Gardens Theatre and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Liliana received an MFA in playwriting from UC San Diego.