How to Defend Yourself, Liliana Padilla's play about a group of college students and their DIY self-defense class, opens its limited engagement at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop March 13. Previews began February 22 for the work which is co-directed by Padilla (TWITCH), Tony winner Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown), and Steph Paul (The Last Match). Performances will run through April 2.
After a brutal rape takes place on campus, a group of college students come together in a DIY self-defense class to learn how "not to be a victim." The moves they learn are meant to help fend off attackers, but they become ways to also channel anger, anxiety, trauma—and desire.
Starring are Amaya Braganza (The King and I), Sebastian Delascasas (Promise), Jayson Lee (Hooded: or being black for dummies), Ariana Mahallati (The Sky’s Forest), Teagan Meredith (The Calling), Gabriela Ortega (Safe Haven), Sarah Marie Rodriguez (Manifest), and Talia Ryder (Do Revenge).
How to Defend Yourself discusses, but does not depict, sex or sexual violence.
The creative team also includes scenic designer You-Shin Chen (Walden), costume designer Izumi Inaba (Kill Move Paradise), lighting designer Stacey Derosier (Fat Ham), and sound designer Tony winner Mikhail Fiksel (Dana H.). Also serving on the creative team are fight director Rocio Mendez (On Sugarland), intimacy coordinator Ann James (Pass Over), vocal coach Dawn-Elin Fraser (Slave Play), and stage manager Katie Young (A Case for the Existence of God). Casting is by Cindy Tolan, Erica Hart, and Nicholas Petrovich.
NYTW is offering a block of tickets to every performance for audience members 30 and younger for $30, in addition to its Cheaptix and Cheaptix Rush programs.