How to Defend Yourself
Ends Apr 02 1h 30m
How to Defend Yourself

How to Defend Yourself NYC Reviews and Tickets

(76 Reviews)
Members say
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious

About the Show

A darkly humorous, emotionally honest new play about intimacy and violation.

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Member Reviews (76)

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928 Reviews | 933 Followers
Nonsensical ending, Confusing, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if Great story, well written and acted. Lots of reveals.

Don't see it if the writing never wraps up the plot. The 5 min coda is a disservice to the play. Read more

903 Reviews | 1029 Followers
Uneven, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Strong performances from cast. Story is engaging for most of the play.

Don't see it if The show kind of fell apart in the last 15min. There's a solo dance number as well as a montage of short scenes that feel out of place.

663 Reviews | 293 Followers
Ambitious but look elsewhere 4 a, New take on sexual conundrums 4 women in college, Setting: self-defense class for college women, Many jolting theatrical moments but, Runs out of steam

See it if laugh out loud; visually arresting scenes; captures college as sexual jungle, conflict consent vs. women's libidos; strong ensemble

Don't see it if 2nd half is a mess as play devolves into series of sketches; central rape story poorly explained & ending is incongruously sappy Read more

555 Reviews | 139 Followers
Intense, Disappointing, Great acting, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy physicality and movement in a play; self defense is of particular importance to you

Don't see it if expecting a cohesive play; there are touching & important moments, then you wonder where things have gone wrong & can't follow the story. Read more

489 Reviews | 57 Followers
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if like relevant topics told unconventionally. a true ensemble production.

Don't see it if want a major story more than an idea.

401 Reviews | 136 Followers
Masterful, Fun!, Great writing, Honest, Refreshing

See it if ur a woman who’s not abjured the company of men; considered defending self instead of relying on apathetic justice system/social progress

Don't see it if sick of straight women. Obvsly you care (u have wife/daughters/mom/are a woman!) but dwelling on issues has stopped paying social dividends Read more

374 Reviews | 93 Followers
Thought-provoking, Important and timely, Great direction, sound & lights, Excellent writing, Amazing ensemble cast

See it if You’re up for a beautifully cast, fast, funny, relevant and searingly honest evening of theatre. A must-see, especially if one has kids.

Don't see it if No reason not to; the cast and Padilla's ear are remarkable, all catching the tone, depth and complicated layers of college-age reality. Read more

368 Reviews | 72 Followers
Entertaining, Great staging, Uneven

See it if you're interested in a funny and insightful play that captures Gen Z mentality and confusion about sexual relationship, consent and assault.

Don't see it if you expect a deeper handling of the complexities of consent that don't fall into cliche territory. Ending is controversial, but I loved it. Read more

Critic Reviews (10)

The New York Times
March 13th, 2023

“For as much as the play aims to engage the audience in a fly-on-the-wall view of a group of still neglects to provide the necessary context to make the pre-existing relationships and the character arcs feel real.”
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Time Out New York
March 27th, 2023

"4/5 Stars! While the play has hackneyed moments, many of the interactions feel real and raw, vibrating with authenticity and considerable humor. Padilla doesn't peddle a simplified #MeToo, #AllMen message. 'How to Defend Yourself' is a tumultuous and surprisingly entertaining investigation of how all of us are warped by rape culture."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
March 13th, 2023

“Liliana Padilla’s ‘How to Defend Yourself’ is a hilarious and unsettling play about exercises...everyone approaches the exercises in ‘How to Defend Yourself’ with different levels of seriousness, keeping their actual intentions to themselves or not even understanding their own intentions, which makes for rich material.”
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New York Theatre Guide
March 14th, 2023

“Liliana Padilla's ‘How to Defend Yourself’ has its moments of strength...The scene is meticulously choreographed, but it doesn't feel like a polished performance. They're tapping into something bigger.”
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March 13th, 2023

“ ‘How to Defend Yourself,’ directed beautifully in its New York premiere by Tony winner Rachel Chavkin, is surprisingly hilarious considering its dark subject matter.”
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Lighting & Sound America
March 13th, 2023

Padilla's focus is extremely narrow -- if their characters have any outside interests, we don't hear about them and, aside from an ill-timed girl-on-girl kiss, they are totally heterosexual -- and yet it feels blisteringly honest, a frank portrayal nevertheless informed by a certain tenderness. Especially remarkable is the playwright's ability to foreground the comedy of calamitous social interactions without ever losing sight of the crime that has stained everyone's lives. It's an exquisite balancing act and they rarely, if ever, put a foot wrong.
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Talkin' Broadway
March 13th, 2023

“ ‘How to Defend Yourself’ is messy and sometimes feels less like a drama than a polemic, but people are going to be talking about it, and maybe that talk will wise some of them up.”
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New York Stage Review
March 13th, 2023

“If you’ve already guessed this is an exercise in 21st century women’s empowerment, you’re on the right track.”
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