play a part in

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play a part in something

 and play a role in something 
1. to participate in something in a specific way. I hope to play a part in the development of the new product. I want to play a role in this procedure.
2. to portray a character in a performance. He played a part in The Mikado, but it was not a major role. Larry wanted to play a role in the next play.
See also: part, play