A scenario (from Italian: that which is pinned to the scenery originating from the Greek word skēnē σκηνή) is a synoptical collage of an event or series of actions and events. In the Commedia dell'arte it was an outline of entrances, exits, and action describing the plot of a play that was literally pinned to the back of the scenery. It is also known as canovaccio or "that which is pinned to the canvas" of which the scenery was constructed.

Surviving scenarios from the Renaissance contain little other than character names, brief descriptions of action, and references to specific lazzi with no further explanation. It is believed that a scenario forms the basis of a fully improvisational performance though it is also likely that they were simple reminders of the plot for those members of the cast who were literate. Modern commedia troupes most often make use of a script with varying degrees of additional improvisation.

In the creation of an opera or ballet, a scenario is often developed initially to indicate how the original source, if any, is to be adapted and to summarize the aspects of character, staging, plot, etc. that can be expanded later in a fully developed libretto, or script. This sketch can be helpful in "pitching" the idea to a prospective producer, director or composer.

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... first entry was a boxed set (ICE #LR0) containing the scenario "Dawn Comes Early", plus Guidelines, maps, character bios, and cardboard characters with stands ... The next was the scenario book "Darker Than the Darkness" (ICE #LR1) and then the scenario book "Over the Misty Mountains Cold" (ICE #LR2) ... Two more scenario books in the series were planned but never published ...

Famous quotes containing the word scenario:

    This is the essential distinction—even opposition—between the painting and the film: the painting is composed subjectively, the film objectively. However highly we rate the function of the scenario writer—in actual practice it is rated very low—we must recognize that the film is not transposed directly and freely from the mind by means of a docile medium like paint, but must be cut piece-meal out of the lumbering material of the actual visible world.
    Sir Herbert Read (1893–1968)