Cue the green-eyed monster — and racist slurs.
Shakespeare’s “Othello,” launching Tuesday in a free open-air Public Theater production, comes with both.
As well as love.
Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson said his staging puts a premium on the passion shared by Othello (Chukwudi Iwuji), a black Venetian general, and Desdemona (Heather Lind), who’s white.
The newlyweds are destroyed thanks to villainous Iago (Corey Stoll, “The Strain,” “Julius Caesar”), who unmoors Othello by hinting that his wife is unfaithful.
“Iago says a racist thing about Othello and people start buying into it. A web starts to spin,” Santiago-Hudson told the Daily News. “But I highlight the love, not race.
“My vision is very romantic, lush and cinematic,” he added. “It’s a love story that goes horribly wrong thanks to one man’s attempt to divide people.”
The notions of racism and divisiveness speak to the current political climate. But Santiago-Hudson isn’t keen on modernizing the drama or drawing a line to the White House.
“No way do I want to shine the light on the Orange Guy,” said Santiago-Hudson. “I’m not giving him a magnifying glass.”
That’s a 180-degree turn from last year’s “Julius Caesar,” which baldly summoned President Trump in the bloody tragedy. It led to controversy, protests and sponsors fleeing Shakespeare in the Park.
But in his directing debut at the Delacorte Theater — his “favorite stage in the nation” — Santiago-Hudson wants to move hearts, not just push buttons.
“Yes, race is part of the play,” he said, adding that he is in a longtime interracial marriage. “So is jealousy, rage and deceit. What can be lost in ‘Othello’ is the story of two people in love that get ripped apart.”
Casting those two people took time and care.
“I’ve been watching Chuk for some time and wanted the proper stage to show his talent,” said the director. “This is it.”
Lind (“Turn: Washington’s Spies”) played Santiago-Hudson’s daughter in “Twelfth Night” at the Delacorte.
“Our Desdemona isn’t a wallflower. She falls in love with a man she wants. She’s not swept away,” said Santiago-Hudson. “I needed a women who had that power.”