Matt Pelfrey

Plays written by Matt Pelfrey



In the Heat of the Night – (8M 2W) A Black homicide detective from California, Virgil Tibbs, finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation in Argo, Alabama, working with the all White local police force, who share the prejudices against Blacks of their community. Reluctantly, the fundamentally honest Chief of Police Gillespie realizes, as things move along, that he just may need the California homicide expert, with his training in interrogation and inference, to solve the murder. Tibbs’ progress on the investigation moves hand in hand with the tensions building around him from racial hatred, outsider hatred, and from the fears of whoever’s going to turn out to be the murderer

No Good Deed – (6M 2W) No Good Deed revolves around the interconnecting stories of three troubled heroes, including a Richard Jewell-like security guard; a firefighter who has rescued a toddler from a well; and lonely teen Josh Jaxon, a budding graphic novelist whose “Hellbound Hero” comes to life as his alter ego.

Pure Shock Value – (3M 1F) Pure Shock Value centers on the plight of three longtime Hollywood friends–Ethan Johnson, his brother Tex, and Ethan’s girlfriend Gabby–who are trying their damndest to make a film called Barking Spiders. How low will they go to get the film made?

Pilo Family Circus – (12M 1W) The Pilo Family Circus is recruiting and whether he likes it or not, Jamie is auditioning. He never dreamed of running away to join the circus, but you just don’t say no to a troupe of exuberantly sadistic clowns out headhunting. Darkly funny and gleefully macabre, Will Elliott’s The Pilo Family Circus, adapted by Matt Pelfrey, follows Jamie’s furious descent into the nightmare world of a centuries-old carnival where amid the acrobats, clowns, dwarves, freaks and fortune tellers, you may lose more than just your way. Jamie finds that his worst enemy is himself. When he applies the white face paint, he is transformed into JJ – the most vicious clown of them all. And JJ wants Jamie dead…


Matt Pelfrey is the resident playwright at Furious Theatre. His plays include An Impending Rupture of the Belly, Cockroach Nation, Terminus Americana, Honkies with Attitude, Gore Hounds, Drive Angry, FrEAk StORm, Jerry Springer is God, Monkey and A Feast of Famine. They have been produced in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and South Africa by such companies as the Actors Theater of Louisville (Humana Festival ’99), Furious Theatre Company, Roadworks, American Theater of Actors, (Mostly) Harmless Theater Company, Moving Arts, Hexagon Theatre and the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble. He is the recipient of the Heideman Award (National Ten-Minute Play Award) for his play Drive Angry. Drive Angry was subsequently produced in the prestigious Humana Festival of New American Plays. Mr. Pelfrey recently won a Back Stage Garland Award for playwriting. He has been nominated for an American Critic’s New Play Award, LA Weekly Playwriting Award and a Los Angeles Ovation Award. In 2001 Mr. Pelfrey was a finalist for the Julliard Playwrights Program. Jerry Springer is God and Drive Angry are published by Samuel French and Smith & Kraus. Cockroach Nation, Terminus Americana and Gore Hounds are published by Original Works Publishing. An Impending Rupture of the Belly and FrEAk StORm are published by Broadway Play Publishing. Matt received his BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State and his MFA from UCLA where he is currently teaching undergraduate playwriting. His website is