1. drama, dramatic play, stage play; stage show, show; theatrical piece, theatricals, piece, work, vehicle; screenplay, photoplay, photodrama, Inf. opus; teleplay, television drama or play, TV drama or play; radio drama or play, broadcast drama; spectacle, extravaganza, pageant; comedy, farce, burlesque; tragedy; melodrama.
2. amusement, pastime, entertainment, recreation, cheer, good fun, Brit. beer and skittles, Inf. fun and games, Sl. jollies; pleasure, enjoyment, delight, gaiety; diversion, distraction, sport; merrymaking, merriment, revelry, jollification, joviality, Inf. whoopee; tomfoolery, skylarking, Sl. monkey business, Sl. high jinks.
3. fun, jest, joke, gag, lark; toying, trifling, fooling, make-believe.
4. pun, wordplay, play on words, double entendre.
5. manner, style, way, wise, method, fashion; habit, custom, pattern, wont, customary or characteristic way; system, approach, technique, practice, tack; routine, process, Latin, modus operandi, Inf. MO, Brit. the drill.
6. gambling, gaming, betting, wagering, hazarding, risking, staking, Brit. punting, Inf. plunging, speculation.
7. conduct, behavior, Archaic. havior, deportment, demeanor, comportment, actions, ways, manners, Archaic. gest; bearing, carriage, posture, port, guise, gait, air, address; lifestyle, way of life, Latin, modus vivendi.
8. action, activity, movement, motion; agency, operation, Rare. operance or operancy, function; performance, execution, enactment, discharge, dispatch; exercise, practice.
9. latitude, liberty, license, freedom, indulgence; free or unrestricted use, carte blanche, blank check; field, free play, free scope, free swing, full swing, swing; margin, room, spare room, elbow room, room to spare, wide berth; rope, enough rope, long rope or tether.
10.(all by or in reference to the news media) press, coverage, time, space, mention.
11. make a play for
Slang. woo, court, pay court to, make love to, serenade, Inf. spark, Inf. court and spark, Sl. hustle, Sl. put or slap the make on, Sl. put a move on; pursue, chase, chase after, pant after.
12. portray, represent, depict, personate, impersonate; act, enact, act out, give a show, tread the boards; perform, Jazz. jam, Music Sl. riff.
13. engage in, take part, become involved, be occupied, occupy oneself; undertake, take up, embark on, set or go about; throw oneself into, launch into, plunge or dive into, tackle; try, make an effort, have a go, Sl. take a crack at, Sl. take a whack at.
14. contend, compete, vie, rival, contest; oppose, challenge, pit oneself against, play against, take on, face, confront, meet; All Fig. battle, join battle with, set to, engage, encounter, struggle, tussle, scuffle, clash.
15. employ, use, make use of, utilize, apply; wield, ply, operate, work; handle, manipulate, put to use or good use.
16. gamble, bet, wager, stake, try one's luck or fortune, make a bet, lay a wager or bet, Brit. punt, Inf. shoot craps, Inf. play the ponies, Brit. Inf. birl, Brit. Sl. gaff; speculate, venture, play the market, Inf. plunge, Inf. take a flier, Inf. take a leap or shot in the dark.
17. do, perform, execute, carry out, accomplish, discharge, fulfill, consummate; cause, effect, effectuate, bring about, make happen.
18. sport, disport, frolic, frisk, gambol, have fun or a good time or a good old time; dance about, jump about, romp, rollick; cavort, caper, cut capers, curvet; revel, carouse, wassail, roister, whoop it up, Inf. make whoopee.
19. clown, clown around, play the clown; horse around, fool around, kid around, Inf. cut up; joke, jest, fool, tease, Inf. josh, Inf. kid, Inf. put [s.o.] on, Inf. pull [s.o.'s] leg; banter, chaff, make merry with.
20. dally, trifle, toy, make light with; potter, putter, smatter, tinker, fiddle, Inf. fool with.
21. play at
pretend, feign, make believe; affect, simulate, fake, sham, give the appearance of, Sl. make like; assume, put on, Inf. do for effect.
22. play down
belittle, disparage, decry, deprecate, demean, detract, derogate, Inf. talk or cry down; minimize, slight, underrate, undervalue, beggar, misprize, extenuate, underestimate, underreckon, think little or nothing of, set no store by, fail to count on; deempha-size, underplay, make light of.
23. played out
a. weary, tired, tired out, Inf. dog-tired, dead-tired, Sl. dead, dead on one's feet; overtired, done in, all in, ready to drop; weary, fatigued, worn out, fagged, fagged out.b. hackneyed, trite, overused, overemployed, overworked; banal, set, stock, familiar, Inf. bromidic, Sl. old hat; stale, dull, flat, vapid, insipid, jejune, warmed-over; moldy, musty, moth-eaten, timeworn, shopworn.c. expended, used up, finished, finished up, gone, all gone, no more, Sl. eighty-sixed.
24. play for time
stall, stall for time; temporize, make or gain time, Inf. drag one's feet; procrastinate, hesitate, hang, hang back or fire; filibuster.
25. play it by ear
improvise, extemporize, ad lib, Inf. fake it, Sl. wing it; rise to the occasion, ride with the waves, roll with the punches.
26. play on or upon
exploit, take advantage or unfair advantage of, abuse, misuse, walk all over [s.o.] take [s.o.] for all he's worth; impose on, trade on.
27. play out
a. finish, complete, carry through, go or follow through with; settle, resolve, terminate, end, bring to an end; conclude, close, wind up, clinch, seal, Inf. wrap up.b. exhaust, consume, use up; expend, spend, dissipate, Sl. blow; waste, squander, fritter away, fool away, run through.
28. play the game
Informal.a. go along with, conform, follow the crowd, do as others do; keep in step, toe the mark, stay in line, follow the rules, keep one's nose clean; yield, acquiesce, defer, compromise, give in; toady, Inf. bootlick, truckle.b. play fair, be a good sport, play by the rules, Inf. be up front.
29. play up
a. emphasize, stress, lay stress or emphasis on, accent, punctuate; underline, underscore, italicize, point up, call attention to, mark, bring home, press home; feature, highlight, spotlight, give prominence to, bring to the fore.b. dramatize, overempha-size, overstress, overaccentuate, make a mountain out of a molehill, make a big thing out of nothing, make much ado about nothing, make a federal case of, blow out of proportion; exaggerate, hyperbolize, overstate.c. magnify, amplify, aggrandize, build up, puff up.
30. play up to
Informal.a. ingratiate oneself, get on the good or right side of, Inf. rub the right way, worm or work oneself in, Inf. get in with, Inf. get cozy or tight with.b. flatter, wheedle, cajole, blandish, Inf. soft-soap, Inf. apple-polish, Sl. butter up, Sl. brownnose; puff, puff up, inflate; fawn, toady, toadeat, truckle, Sl. fall all over; court, pay court to, curry favor, dance attendance upon, Sl. buddy up to, Sl. shine up to, Sl. suck up to; lick [s.o.'s] shoes, lick or kiss [s.o.'s] feet, Inf. bootlick; agree to anything, Inf. be a yes man to.
31. play with fire
a. tempt Providence, defy danger, court destruction, go in harm's way, ask for trouble, skate on thin ice, dance on the razor's edge, put one's head in the lion's mouth, beard the lion in his den, march up to the cannon's mouth, play Russian roulette.b. get hurt, hurt oneself, burn one's fingers; Sl. stick one's nose where it doesn't belong.

A Note on the Style of the synonym finder. 2014.