Review: Bindlestiff Studio and PMSTA’s “Death of a Player”

Bindlestiff Studio and PMSTA’s “Death of a Player,” reviewed by Bruce Reyes-Chow:

The main reason that I took my daughter to see the show was not only because it was a production by PMSTA, but because I want to support the work and mission of The Bindlestiff Studio especially upon their return to operation.

From the Bindlestiff Website:

Originally opened in 1989, Bindlestiff Studio became the only permanent, community-based performing arts venue in the nation dedicated to showcasing emerging Filipino American and Pilipino artists.

Bindlestiff Studio provides the often under-served Filipino American community access to diverse offerings in theatrical productions, music and film festivals, workshops in directing, production, acting, stand-up comedy, and writing, as well as a children and youth theater program.

Bindlestiff Studio cultivates artists, who reflect and celebrate the diverse values, traditions, and histories of Pilipino and Filipino American cultures, through bold artistic expression and community engagement.

It is so important for small, focused venues like this to exist in order to provide exposure and opportunity: exposure to a larger audience of a community’s complex history, struggles and accomplishments and an opportunity for those from that community to have a venue to express those stories in creative and unique ways.  I am glad to see that Bindlestiff Studio is back in business and ready to lift up and share the voices and expressions of the Filipino American experience.


overall this was a wonderful production for its context, passion and moments of solid acting.  Knowing that any “review” is a matter of perspective and opinion, I am not going to call anyone out in particular, but rather I want to lift up the performances that really touched me.

In no particular order, my three favorite performances were:

Pretty Little Girls – This was by far the most fun of the plays . . . if you like guns, zombies and blood that is. Great timing and acting by all three performers. The plot moved quickly and the dialogue was easy to track as the three characters transformed numerous times. The most physical and campy of the plays, they did a great job selling the physical movement and the ending was awesome. The final play, it closed out the entire night on a high note.

Word of Oprah – Aureen Amario delivered one of the best performances of the night as a cheated-on women who does stuff – you’ll have to see it to find out what – to her significant other and lands in prison.  Her dead on impersonation of the man in her life combined with her ability to move back and forth between “normal” and “crazy” was more than a little disconcerting . . . in a good way.

Circadian Suites – There were many strong performances throughout the production, but the one that stood out for me was Tonilyn Sideco as Ophelia. Overall this was one of the strongest acted plays by all of the actors, but Tonilyn really brought it. Her ability to express genuine longing for and struggle about the love of her life was profound. Dotted with some great prop gag timing as well as deep emotional despair there was an intimacy that was truly moving.

Read more.

For more info:

  • Bindlestiff Studio: Website | Twitter | Facebook
  • PMSTA:  Website | Facebook
  • Remaining Showtimes: October 27 and 28 at 8:00pm and October 29, 2:00 and 8:00pm.
  • Tickets: $20 and can be ordered through Brown Paper Tickets. $25 at the door.
  • Location: Bindlestiff Studio 165 6th Street, btw Howard and Mission

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