What is a mummer's farce?

What is a mummer's farce?


It's a reference to "mummers", performers in a traditional English folk play with stock archetypal characters, comic dialogue, and a simple plot (see Wikipedia / Mummers Play… and this YouTube example… ).

Metaphorically, it's used for situations where people feel they've been forced into a role - victim, villain, whatever - where events will play out in some predictable way whatever they do. For example, there might be a court case or disciplinary action where it's obvious that there's a bias, yet the proceedings have to play out as if they were fair.