"How to Defend Yourself" by Liliana Padilla

How to Defend Yourself Liliana Padilla, Ayad Akhtar

Yale Drama Series
Publication date:
27 Oct 2020
Yale University Press
152 pages: 229 x 140mm

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 insidious ways rape culture threatens one’s body and sense of belonging.
It is the thirteenth winner of the Yale Drama Series prize, having been selected from over 1,750 entries from sixty-five countries across six continents.

Liliana Padilla makes plays about community, the body, power, and healing. They are a theatre maker, teacher and doula-in-training. MFA: UC San Diego, BFA: NYU Tisch. They received an MFA from UC San Diego and BFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.