Cover art by Sarah Beth Hall, courtesy of Know Theatre


Joseph Zettelmaier
Book Item Icon $15.95
PDF ePlay Item Icon
Enter total users


Los Angeles, 1933. PI Frank Ellery doesn’t know it, but he’s taken on the strangest case of his life. A literary agent has been gruesomely murdered. The four suspects: his remaining clients, all writers for different pulp magazines. Frank dives into the mystery, and his world turns upside down as life begins to imitate literature. Science fiction, romance, adventure, horror … and one down-on-his-luck gumshoe who’s about to learn what really lurks between the lines.

Production Info

Cast: 5 total (1 female, 4 male)
Full Length Dark Comedy (about 100 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tags: , ,

Press Quotes

“It’s as if Joseph Zettelmaier couldn’t contain all his ideas into a single play. So he created a script that could accommodate a whole slew of dramatic agendas. In the end, it’s as if he’s wrapped up two plays into a single script. And the amazing thing is that both are pretty entertaining. The first act is an adoring and witty homage to film noir. There’s a hard-drinking, down-and-out private eye, Frank, and the slinky dame who hires him to solve a murder. Turns out, she’s one of four authors of pulp novels suspected of killing the agent who represented all of them. There are plot twists. And twists on twists. And loads of witty dialogue, too, as Zettelmaier walks an ever-so-fine line between homage and spoof … Zettelmaier is a wonderfully facile storyteller. But he doesn’t always play by the rules, which we discovered so delightfully [in] his play ALL CHILDISH THINGS … And then there’s Act Two. Frank’s investigation moves forward, but along the way, Zettelmaier finds a way to immerse us in each of the four writers’ genres of pulp. It’s a clever device. And it works, giving us more information about each of them than if he followed a more traditional exposition. There’s the slinky dame—Desiree St Clair is her unlikely name—who writes romance novels, while Bradley Rayburn writes science fiction. (He’s also an inventor, a pastime that provides a major plot twist late in the play.) Walter Kingston-Smith is a writer of so-called ‘hero pulp,’ while R A Lyncroft creates particularly gruesome horror novels … savvy plotting and clever repartee …” —David Lyman, Cincinnati Enquirer

About the Author


  • Joseph Zettelmaier

    Joseph Zettelmaier is a Michigan-based playwright and four-time nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for best new play, first in 2006 for ALL CHILDISH THINGS, then in 2007 for LANGUAGE LESSONS, in 2010 for IT CAME FROM MARS and in 2012 for DEAD MAN'S SHOES. His plays THE STILLNESS BETWEEN BREATHS and IT CAME FROM MARS were selected to appear in the National New Play Network's Festival of New Plays, and IT CAME FROM MARS was a recipient of 2009's Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. His play DEAD MAN'S SHOES won the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award in 2011. In 2016, his play PULP was the recipient of a Rolling World Premiere with the National New Play Network. He is an Artistic Associate and Resident Playwright at First Folio Theatre, an At Large Ambassador to the National New Play Network and an adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University and Schoolcraft College, where he teaches Dramatic Composition, Play Production, Stage Management, Stage Combat, and Fundamentals of Acting. He also serves as Executive Director for Roustabout Theatre Troupe. The Detroit Free Press has listed him as "Michigan's best and most prolific playwright," and he was profiled in the March 2012 issue of American Theatre magazine.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 4/18/2018
Pages 104
ISBN 9780881457674

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Pulp is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


11/9/2019 – 11/30/2019
Centenary Theatre Group
Brisbane, QLD, Australia

8/9/2019 – 8/18/2019
Michiana Playmakers
South Bend, IN

6/6/2019 – 6/23/2019
Theatre On The Ridge
Paradise, CA