Themes and Meanings

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

The Connection is a play about the making of a play that investigates the human condition through the central metaphor of waiting. Therefore, The Connection is also a play about the nature of improvised, experimental drama and about the blurred distinction between drama and reality. The main actors of the play-within-the-play are heroin addicts—a group of people who are rarely represented in traditional drama. The audience learns much about their lives and is invited to understand the addicts and to feel compassion for them and their lives of constant waiting and worrying, interrupted by only brief periods of happiness.

The Connection is not, however, primarily a play about heroin and its users. The addicts are representative of the general human condition, which crosses boundaries of race and class. They represent, as Solly says, a “petty and miserable microcosm.” While The Connection is not a defense of drugs, it argues that drug addicts are not dissimilar to more conventional members of society: The former seek happiness through an illegal vice, whereas the latter seek it through financial stability. Both groups are addicted to their own means of finding happiness. The line between conventionality and marginality is crossed by the second photographer and Jaybird, who accept the heroin offered to them, while Leach dreams of crossing this line in the other direction and of getting a job in order to establish...

(The entire section is 466 words.)