How to Defend Yourself

Sponsored by:
  • The Humana Foundation

by Lily Padilla
directed by Marti Lyons
co-world premiere with Victory Gardens Theater


March 13 – April 7, 2019

in the Bingham Theatre

Your body is a weapon. So says Brandi, who starts teaching her peers self-defense after fraternity brothers assault one of her sorority sisters. Joined by two male classmates who show up in support, the group learns how to fight back, while wrestling with their own complicated experiences and desires. But how much can a class actually teach them about protecting themselves—and each other? Visceral and provocative, How to Defend Yourself examines the impact of rape culture, on campus and beyond.

Audience advisory: Contains strong language, some violence and explicit discussion of sex and sexual assault.
Age recommendation: 16+

How to Defend Yourself was developed in the 2018 Wagner New Play Festival at the University of California, San Diego directed by Kim Rubinstein and mentored by Naomi Iizuka, Allan Havis, Deborah Stein and Kim Rubinstein. The roles were originated by UC San Diego undergraduate and graduate actors. The play was further developed in the 2018 IGNITION New Play Festival at Victory Gardens Theater and the 2018 Ojai Playwrights Conference.


About the Playwright

Lily Padilla makes plays about sex, intersectional communities and what it means to heal in a violent world. They just received their M.F.A. from the University of California, San Diego, where they were mentored by Naomi Iizuka, Deborah Stein, Allan Havis and Kim Rubinstein. Padilla’s work has been developed with the Ojai Playwrights Conference, Victory Gardens Theater, INTAR Theatre and San Diego Repertory Theatre. Her immersive audio installation And Then You Wait, co-created with Dylan Key, reimagined an abandoned grain silo as an apocalyptic fallout shelter in the 2017 La Jolla Playhouse WOW Festival. (w)holeness was a finalist for the 2018 Latinx Theatre Commons Carnaval of New Work. Padilla facilitates playwriting workshops with the La Jolla Playhouse/TCG Veterans & Theatre Institute. They hold a BFA from NYU Tisch, ETW & Playwrights Horizons. She is also a director, actor and community builder who looks at rehearsal as a laboratory for how we might be together. www.lilypadilla.com


Made possible by a generous grant from

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Box Office: 502.584.1205
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