When it comes to casting Othello, one of the few characters for whom Shakespeare specified a race, directors have relied on actors of a multitude of racial identities to play the Moorish general. Sir Laurence Olivier donned blackface to play the role in a 1965 film adaptation, while Sir Patrick Stewart played the role as white, with an otherwise entirely African-American cast, in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s 1997 production. In Shakespeare Theatre’s latest presentation of the great tragedy, director Ron Daniels emphasizes the play’s religious themes, presenting Othello as a Muslim living in a restrictive Christian society. Pakistani-American actor Faran Tahir, seen widely in Iron Man and on American Crime, portrays the man driven mad by jealousy. At 400 years old, that the tension between Iago, Desdemona, and Othello can be represented in so many different ways speaks both to Shakespeare’s enduring legacy as well as the evolving nature of race relations around the world. Centuries later, the conflict remains searingly brutal. The play runs Feb. 23 to March 27 at Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. $20–$118. (202) 547-1122. shakespearetheatre.org.