play is a piece of dramatic literature, written for the theater, radio or television.
  • “Julius Caesar” is one of Shakespeare’s early plays.
game is an activity like, for example, chess, football or bridge.
  • Chess is a very slow game. (NOT …a very slow play.)
The uncountable noun play can be used to mean “playing” in general.
  • Children learn a great deal through play.
People act in plays or films, and play games or musical instruments.
  • My daughter is acting in her school play this year.
  • Have you ever played rugby football?
Play can be used with the same meaning as act before the name of a character in a play or film.
  • I’ll never forget seeing Olivier play Othello.