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(1) A plot outline that serves as the basis of plays that make use of improvisation. It is a synopsis of the play, without dialogues or monologues. The scenario indicates the main steps in the development of the action, the entrances of the characters onto the stage, and the times at which individual acts or musical selections are to be performed. The scenario is used for various types of popular theater that developed from oral folk art, for example, mime, farce, Atellan farce, commedia dell’arte, and plays performed at fairs. With the emergence of drama, the scenario gave way to a written text.
(2) In cinematography, a literary work intended for production as a motion picture. The film scenario, or screenplay, has developed as a literary form and uses the principles of prose, poetry, and dramaturgy. In addition to the written scenario, there is a director’s scenario—a detailed plan of the filming, containing the order in which the scenes are to be filmed, with indications of the organization of individual scenes and of such aspects as the music and the arrangement of the set. To a great extent, the director’s scenario determines the genre, rhythm, style, and atmosphere of the film.
(3) In ballet, the scenario is called the libretto, which is a detailed account of the plot with a description of all the dance sequences and mime scenes. The libretto is also the basis for the music and the choreography.
(4) In opera, the Russian term for “scenario” (stsenarii) refers to the librettist’s outline for the libretto.