THE LOVE TRIANGLE, Bailiwick Repertory. There may be a one-act hiding somewhere within this rather confused and rambling full-length play by Elizabeth Ward. Staged with somnambulist blandness by Christine Hartman, and complicated with issues that are brought up only to be dropped, The Love Triangle is difficult to pin down.

At its core are Maria and Samantha, lovers whose relationship is strained by Maria’s commitment to Yolanda, an HIV-positive woman she wants to help. The threat Samantha feels as her lover grows more and more involved with the increasingly sick woman is worth examining. Never pretty, jealousy is particularly ignoble when your partner’s motives are pure and the object of your jealousy is legitimately needy. Ward gives us even more to chew on by questioning Maria’s motives–she seems obsessed with Yolanda. But this situation is never investigated fully. Samantha gets little attention, and the play veers off into mini essays about random violence, guns, and Maria’s “white girl” status (Yolanda is black, Samantha Puerto Rican). Maria’s flirtation with Yolanda’s brother remains a mystery, as does her secrecy about Samantha.

Hartman’s direction does little to flesh out or spice up The Love Triangle: her staging is either innocuous or puzzling. A dance between the lovers in their living room seems to last forever and serves no purpose, and the ending is so ambiguous that on the night I saw the play the audience had to be cued to applaud by the company bow. In development for the past year, this script–and the production–could use another workshop.