play like

play like (something)

To perform competitively in a particular type of way. This underdog team is playing like their lives depend on it—they might just pull off the impossible and win the championship! I'm usually really good at this video game, but I'm playing like trash today! For her first chess tournament, she's playing like a pro!
See also: like, play
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play like someone or something

to pretend to be someone or a type of a person. Sam is playing like Mr. Watson, the teacher. He is playing like a teacher and helping Mary with her homework.
See also: like, play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
"With two lines of four the other day, the team played really well and the balance was really good, compact, and they did well, sometimes playing balls behind the centre-backs or sometimes between the lines, and Nico likes to play like this."
If it's deliberate on her part and she's trying to play like it's not important, this BFF is a WFE (Worst Friend Ever).
How many times have we heard adults say, "I'd give anything to play like that, or to paint like that, or to write like that?" Of course, they would not.
Rooney's hair is built high like a Gregg's chicken pie spots a-mol-e Terry's face seems to shine 'cos he says a-mol-e Cole's all bling bling-aling-a-ling bling-aling-aling he don't need Rooney's Wella He can play likes to play away likes to play away and his ex-bird's in Bella (Lucky fella) Theo Walcott's quite cool and his skills make you drool spots a-mole-e Gerrard's passes are neat With the ball at his feet, he's immense Hodgson thinks it's a dream But, you know, he's not dreamin', signore 'Scusami, but you see They will beat you 4-3* says this mol-e * on penalties
She stages the play likes it's a religious ritual, with crosses and exits taking centuries to complete.