Writers Alexandra Dean Grossi and Adrienne Marquand are bringing the pilot episode of Oral to the masses. Now before you get the wrong idea of what this pilot is about, the show is based on Grossi’s real life experience. The hour-long dramedy follows Izzy, a “not deaf enough” millennial, who is navigating adulthood and a chaotic love life, all while learning to embrace her disability in 2007 Los Angeles. Grossi and Marquand have set a virtual table read on June 17 for the pilot featuring Abbi Jacobson, Andrea Martin, Will Forte, Joshua Castille, Tristan Mack Wilds, Arturo Luiìs Soria, David Krumholtz, and more.
“We are so excited to be giving life to Izzy and her community in this way,” said Grossi and Marquand in a joint statement. “We have not seen this particular ‘type of deafness’ played out in-depth before and we hope that this story will be relatable to anyone struggling to ‘adult,’ regardless of their other characteristics. Oral is meant to serve as a nostalgic time capsule, reflecting on everything that has changed over the past 14 years, while providing a unique perspective on current social and political issues. We can’t wait for everyone to see it, and are so grateful to the incredibly talented actors who are joining us!”
Oral is inspired by the real life events of Grossi, who was born profoundly deaf. The show explores the experiences of a deaf person (Izzy) who has been “mainstreamed” her entire life. Izzy is fully immersed in the hearing world. She tries her best, but is messy and imperfect—just like everyone else her age. Unlike her hearing peers, however, Izzy mishears nearly everything and is constantly caught in a game of Charades in order to interpret the world around her.
As an older millennial (this micro-generation has recently been dubbed “xennials”), Izzy navigates a burgeoning (albeit rocky) gig economy, explores a dating world where nobody understands “her kind of deafness,” and comes to terms with the fact that participation trophies don’t exist. This is a tribute to anyone who has ever felt different or marginalized because they did not (or perhaps could not) fit into the box of what it means to be “normal.”
The title of the project references Oral Deaf Education (as opposed to deaf education paths involving Sign Language). Also known as the “Oral Route,” Oral Deaf Education is when deaf and Hard of Hearing children are raised to learn to listen and communicate verbally with the help of hearing aids (including Cochlear Implants) and intensive speech therapy. They typically do not use sign language.
The reading for Oral will be available to the public and registration is now open here (to view at 7pm ET) and here (to view at 7pm PT). Read the full cast for the table read below.
Izzy – Juliet Perrell
Teddy (Izzy’s Best and Oldest Friend) – Arturo Luiìs Soria
Sam (Teddy’s Boyfriend) – Adam Jepsen
Marcello (Izzy’s Father) – W. Earl Brown
Brigitte (Izzy’s Mother) – Andrea Martin
Katrina – Abigail Hawk
Cory (Izzy’s Building Manager) – Abbi Jacobson
Kevin (Izzy’s Former Co-Worker) – Tristan Mack Wilds
Giovanni – Will Brandt
Sarah – Olivia Simmons
Stardancer79 (Izzy’s Nemesis) – Joshua Castille
Jerry (Izzy’s Boss) – David Krumholtz
Tim – Sean Scofield
Camille – Laura Albert
Bank Teller – Winsome Brown
Receptionist – Christine Evangelista
Mustachioed Customer – Jeff McCarthy
Customer – Will Forte
Armen – Clay Christopher
Circuit City Cashier – Ashley Marquand
Intern – Olivia Roldan
Emily – Deirdre Lorenz