How to Defend Yourself has found its cast and creative team. Set to begin a limited engagement at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop February 22, the play will be co-directed by its playwright Liliana Padilla (TWITCH), Tony winner Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown), and Steph Paul (The Last Match). Opening night is set for March 13 for a run through April 2.
Starring in the cast will be 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).
The play is set in a DIY self-defense class, as a group of college students learn "not to be a victim." The moves they learn are meant to help fend off attackers, but they become ways to channel all sorts of things instead: anger, anxiety, trauma—and desire. Padilla's work explores "what we want, how to ask for it, and the violator and violated inside us all."
The production will also feature scenic design by You-Shin Chen (Walden), costume design by Izumi Inaba (Kill Move Paradise), lighting design by Stacey Derosier (Fat Ham), and sound design by Tony winner Mikhail Fiksel (Dana H.). Also serving on the creative team will be 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 will offer a block of tickets to every performance for audience members 30-years-old and younger for $30, in addition to its CHEAPTIX and CHEAPTIX RUSH programs.
How to Defend Yourself discusses but does not depict sex or sexual violence.