Maleeha Naseer on Swordfish Grilled (So I Don’t Get Sued)

From June 6-23, City Theatre’s Summer Shorts will perform  short plays by Miami’s best emerging playwrights at the Arsht Center. In this series the playwrights share a little with the Jitney about their work.

A bus boy once told me life is like a sandwich. No matter what way you flip it, you always got to land on the bread. Swordfish Grilled (So I Don’t Get Sued) tells a tale of just how arduous it may be to flip that sandwich without getting burned in the process. The story follows a group of five restaurant employees on the outskirts of West Kendall having a COMPLETELY average opening shift.

Troubles arise, leaving two servers (Enrique and Rosalba) and a prep cook (Cordell) to deal with a large mess. 

This piece is honestly more of a love letter than a play. In my short time on this earth, I have found that the most interesting and honest people are found working service jobs in the suburbs. I may be biased. I have been in the industry since before I had a drivers license, but you’d be surprised at the rich culture of it all. Line cooks spout philosophy, servers teach about survival of the fittest, bar regulars play out dramas of Shakespearean level every single day! And yet, all of this somehow remains hidden.

Tucked away from the rest of the world.

Blocked off by sprawling suburbs and  a tendency by society to write off such establishments as dead ends, or often just forgotten about all together. I, for one, LOVE my dead end. 

Every day I clock into work I am reminded of why human beings even tell stories at all: life is bizarre, hilarious, poetic, and beautiful if you just start to pay attention. My philosophy as a writer is one of watching and listening intently to the world around, because there is always something worth remembering. There is always something to be retold. And oddly enough, this is my philosophy as a bartender as well!

My various trades are truly just one: story telling. I write about the truth in my everyday life and the sameness I find in all of us human beings. With this piece, I give you a mixture of actual events that have happened to my very real coworkers and I at our place of work (again please do not sue me). I hope you recognize some of these characters, because they are based entirely off you. 

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Maleeha Naseer

Maleeha Naseer (she/her) is a Miami based playwright, actor, and sound designer. Since graduating from Florida International University she has worked around the Miami theatre community, including Lakehouseranchdotpng and Gablestage.