Antony and Cleopatra has the strangest stage history of any of Shakespeare's major tragedies. Richard Madelaine explains how the play's challenging complexity has at different times inhibited or promoted its success on the stage, and accounts for the remarkable resurgence of performances in the last twenty years. Madelaine provides the only detailed, extensive and up-to-date history of the play on stage and screen, in and beyond Britain. His introduction and commentary examine the ways in which cultural factors have shaped the performance of the play, and how actors have tackled the main parts, in particular the exotic eroticism of Cleopatra. In the process he reveals not only the rich plurality of possible readings of the play, but also changing attitudes to Shakespeare.