Who wouldn’t be queen for a day if she could? The title of the Australian actress Zoe Caldwell’s autobiography cites Shakespeare while also posing as the actress’s own performative reinvention: I Will Be Cleopatra. In doing so, Caldwell unknowingly anticipates Francesca Royster’s reading of the cultural icon we call “Cleopatra.” Using the proper noun as a verb, Royster uses “to Cleopatra” as shorthand for performance itself.1 One does not simply play Cleopatra; one becomes her, according to Royster and her title, Becoming Cleopatra. This process of becoming is central to the role as Shakespeare crafted it: the Egyptian queen’s “infinite variety,” her evanescence, her racial ambiguity, in a word the slipperiness of this “Serpent of old Nile” (1.5.25) constitutes her essence. Cleopatra is pure theatre. She is the queen of all divas. And yet, does this not pose a practical problem for performers cast in the role? In an English classical theatre grounded on Stanislavskian modern notions of psychological realism, where audiences wish to identify with “characters” on stage (a character being defined by consistency of motivation, by a recognizable and stable “identity,” and so on), how does one embody a character whose essence is change?