Lily Padilla
Lily Padilla

2019 Finalist

How to Defend Yourself

Synopsis: 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.

Cast Breakdown: 5W, 2M
MOJDEH, 18, she/her/hers, Iranian-American. Desperate to lose her virginity.
DIANA, 18, she/her/hers, Mexican-American. Loves guns.
NIKKI, 20, she/her/hers, person of color. Pulls in all her tentacles to disappear.
BRANDI, 21, she/her/hers, white. Sorority VP and a black belt in Karate.
KARA, 21, she/her/hers, open to any race/ethnicity. Into rough sex and not afraid to say it.
EGGO, 20, he/him/his, person of color. Wants to be loved, by anyone really.
ANDY, 21, he/him/his, white. He’s trying to be an ally, he’s really trying.

Set/Costume Requirements:
Set: A multipurpose room in a university gym.
Costumes: contemporary clothing, a mix of highly curated to haphazard workout clothes— what a group of seven college students today would wear to be seen (and disappear) in a self-defense class.


Agent: Michael Finkle, WME

Bio: Lily Padilla makes plays about sex, intersectional communities and what it means to heal in a violent world. Their play, How to Defend Yourself will be produced in the 2019 Humana Festival and at Victory Gardens Theatre in 2020.  Lily’s work has been developed with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Victory Gardens, INTAR Theatre and San Diego REP. Lily facilitates playwriting workshops with the La Jolla Playhouse/TCG Veterans & Theatre Institute and teaches playwriting and devised theatre at USD and UCSD. MFA, UC San Diego, BFA NYU Tisch. Lily is also a director, actor and community builder who looks at rehearsal as a laboratory for how we might be together.