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Say you have just read your child "Snow White and 7 Dwarfs".

Now, you want to perform a play about "Snow White and 7 Dwarfs".

Is it correct to say?

-Would you like to play "Snow White and 7 Dwarfs"?

-You will play the princess and I will pay the stepmom

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Possibly, depending on what you meant, or how you meant to be understood by the child.

Children often make up their own role-play 'games' and they refer to these games by the name they give them, for example "lets play doctors and nurses", or "let's play mums and dads". If children wanted to role-play as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs it is highly likely they might say "let's play Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".

It would not, however, be an idiomatic way for an adult to say they were putting on a play. If 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' were the name of the play, you would ask "do you want to perform Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?" Also note that, when speaking about professional play productions, "would you like to play Snow White?" would mean the role of Snow White. Obviously, one person cannot play multiple roles, so 'Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs' can only really be used as the name of the entire play, otherwise it sounds like 8 roles.

I think the most idiomatic ways an adult might suggest a role-play game to a child would be:

  • Shall we play a game of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?
  • Would you like to pretend to be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?
  • Shall we play at being Snow White... etc
  • Let's pretend to be Snow White... etc
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It's fine when talking to a child. The understanding is that the name of the book becomes the name of the game. This is a contextual meaning. It's probably a bit long-winded: you could shorten the name of the game to "Snow White". (Which is the name of the original fairy tale; Disney added "and the seven dwarfs".

If talking to an adult, or older child, "play" would be understood to "act" and the object is the role, not the name of the play.

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    Looking back to my own childhood, "Let's play...", "Let's play at being...", "Let's pretend to be..." are all possible. Mar 1, 2021 at 8:47

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