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Act the fool, play the calf,
And you'll always have the last laugh. ~ Cole Porter

Play is a range of voluntary activities normally associated with recreational pleasure and enjoyment.  Play seems to be a normal activity in many healthy animals while stressed and starving animals, generally do not play.  Performing with musical instruments or activating the presentation of audio or visual media records is usually referred to as the playing of these, and "play" can also refer to general states of freedom of action.  A theatrical play is a work involving characters portraying situations of comic or tragic drama.  To play can also mean to pretend, as in the phrase, "Play dumb."

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The structure of a play is always the story of how the birds came home to roost. ~ Arthur Miller
Play! Invent the world! Invent reality! ~ Vladimir Nabokov
The play's the thing... Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king. ~ William Shakespeare


  • Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes
    • Anonymous

  • The purpose of creation, is lila. The concept of lila escapes all the traditional difficulties in assigning purpose to the creator. Lila is a purpose-less purpose, a natural outflow, a spontaneous self-manifestation of the Divine. The concept of lila, again, emphasizes the role of delight in creation. The concept of Prakriti and Maya fail to explain the bliss aspect of Divine. If the world is manifestation of the Force of Satcitananda, the deployment of its existence and consciousness, its purpose can be nothing but delight. This is the meaning of delight. Lila, the play, the child’s joy, the poet’s joy, the actor’s joy, the mechanician’s joy of the soul of things eternally young, perpetually inexhaustible, creating and recreating Himself in Himself for the sheer bliss of that self-creation, of that self-representation, Himself the play, Himself the player, Himself the playground








  • Intellectual life has a certain spontaneous character and inner determination. It has also a peculiar poise of its own, which I believe is established by a balance between two basic qualities in the intellectual’s attitude toward ideas—qualities that may be designated as playfulness and piety.


    • Jack Torrance played by Jack Nicholson, The Shining screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson


  • Blessed are the people whose leaders can look destiny in the eye without flinching but also without attempting to play God.


  • But how can the characters in a play guess the plot? We are not the playwright, we are not the producer, we are not even the audience. We are on the stage. To play well the scenes in which we are "on" concerns us much more than to guess about the scenes that follow it.


  • Wonder Woman: Poor child! You've lived a terrible life- gloomy. Tragic. You're fun starved! You must learn to play!
  • Machines do not have feelings... This is not to say that no inanimate objects have feelings -- toys are loaded with feelings, for instance, and only a monster would break the heart of a rag doll.
  • Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play
    Now I need a place to hide away.

    Oh, I believe in yesterday.
  • By whatever means it is accomplished, the prime business of a play is to arouse the passions of its audience so that by the route of passion may be opened up new relationships between a man and men, and between men and Man. Drama is akin to the other inventions of man in that it ought to help us to know more, and not merely to spend our feelings.
  • In my music, I'm trying to play the truth of what I am. The reason it's difficult is because I'm changing all the time.
    • Charles Mingus, a statement to Nat Hentoff, as quoted in California Rock, California Sound : The Music of Los Angeles and Southern California (1979) by Anthony Fawcett, p. 56; also in “Jazz : Beyond Time and Nations” in The Nat Hentoff Reader (2001), Part 2 : The Passion of Creation, p. 99
  • Look around you. Everywhere. They are there. In every home - lurking in dark corners … small, bi-pedal entities with almost human brains play their games in which adults are the pawns. They play and wait for the time when they will take over the world!
  • Lila, as a concept denoting play, is applied to much of Indian thought, both spiritual and secular.
    • Matthew W. Morey, in "Sri Aurobindo’s Lila : The Nature of Divine Play According to Integral Advaita", in Integral Review (July 2012), Vol. 8, No. 1, p. 68




  • I like desires like children and their plays that tease me now and then into knowing life.




  • حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدٌ، أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامٌ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ ـ
    رضى الله عنها ـ قَالَتْ كُنْتُ أَلْعَبُ بِالْبَنَاتِ عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه
    وسلم وَكَانَ لِي صَوَاحِبُ يَلْعَبْنَ مَعِي، فَكَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه
    وسلم إِذَا دَخَلَ يَتَقَمَّعْنَ مِنْهُ، فَيُسَرِّبُهُنَّ إِلَىَّ فَيَلْعَبْنَ مَعِي‏.‏
    • Narrated 'Aisha:
      I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me.
      • Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 151
      • Commentary not present in the original Arabic text: (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for 'Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fateh-al-Bari page 143, Vol.13)
  • The gift of Chopin is [the expression of] the deepest and fullest feelings and emotions that have ever existed. He made a single instrument speak a language of infinity. He could often sum up, in ten lines that a child could play, poems of a boundless exaltation, dramas of unequalled power.
  • Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays.
  • Deute den lieblichen Schein und mache Ernst aus dem Spiel, so wirst du das Centrum fassen und die verehrte Kunst in höherm Lichte wieder finden.
    • Take playfulness seriously, and you will apprehend what is at the center and rediscover your revered art in a more sublime light.
  • If you ask me to play myself, I will not know what to do. I do not know who or what I am.
    • Peter Sellers, as quoted in Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion (1988) by Leslie Halliwell, p. 622
  • All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts.
  • Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
    It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
    Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear,
    Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear.
    So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows
    As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows.
    The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand,
    And, touching hers, make blessèd my rude hand.
    Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
    For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.




  • It is interesting that Hindus, when they speak of the creation of the universe do not call it the work of God, they call it the play of God, the Vishnu lila, lila meaning play. And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance — lila perhaps being somewhat related to our word lilt” p\

See also

Wikipedia has an article about:
  • Encyclopedic article on Play on Wikipedia