February 29, 2024
“How you can Defend Your self,” a play by UCSD graduate Liliana Padilla, opened on the New York Theatre Workshop in February. Picture credit score: Joan Marcus through nytw.org/

The New York Instances‘ annual “Greatest Theater of 2023” listing consists of works by two UC San Diego Division of Theatre and Dance alumni among the many prime productions of the yr.

The dramas, by playwrights Liliana Padilla and Emily Feldman – every maintain grasp’s of high-quality arts levels from UCSD – discover critical matters, the complexity of consent and familial dysfunction, however with an undercurrent of humor.

How you can Defend Your self depicts the aftermath of a sexual assault, as sorority members manage a self-defense class whereas coping with their emotions concerning the assault and questions on consent. Written by Padilla, a 2018 graduate, the work debuted at UCSD’s Wagner New Play Competition earlier than touchdown on the New York Theatre Workshop.

The Instances known as it a “completely timed hot-button play.”

“I believe I wrote this before everything as a present to my 17-year-old self who felt deeply alone within limiting narratives round what it was to proceed residing after assault,” Padilla defined in an interview with New York Public Radio. “My hope is that it permits folks to attach deeply to components of themselves which may really feel caught or wounded…”

The Instances additionally cited 2016 graduate Feldman’s The Greatest We May (a household tragedy) for producing one of the vital “Unforgettable Moments” in theater this yr.

The “stealth intestine punch of a play,” because the Instances stated, was produced on the Manhattan Theatre Membership and facilities on a cross-country journey by a father and daughter to undertake a canine.

“I began penning this play in 2017, which felt like a time when dialog round patriarchy and misogyny have been sparking, particularly between folks of various generations, which have been the conversations that I discovered most attention-grabbing,” Feldman stated in Broadway World. “And in fascinated by the numerous, many sides of the ‘Me Too’ motion, I actually began to surprise concerning the relationship between daughters and their fathers in all of it, and the way damaging it’s when an individual you’re keen on can’t attune to vary.”