Vera; or, The Nihilists (1880) is Oscar Wilde’s first play. It features Russian revolutionaries who seek to assassinate a reform-minded Emperor, and is loosely based on the life of Vera Zasulich who shot the Governor of St. Petersburg in 1878.
Contemporary events in Russia, as published in the British press of the time, clearly influenced the plot and characters. The first public performance of Vera; or, The Nihilists was in New York City in 1883 at the Union Square Theatre. The play was a failure and folded after only one week. It remains fascinating as part of a study into the development of Wilde's work.
The highlights of the play are the wit of the Tsar Senior's Prime Minister, and Vera's speech when she prepares to assassinate Tsarevitch Alexis, just before becoming Juliet from Romeo and Juliet instead of Lady Macbeth.