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A scene from Le Sang des promesses

12:10 p.m. Arrive at Théâtre Maisonneuve 10 minutes late. Street closings due to a bicycle festival and a francophone music festival. That's Montreal in the summer for you.

12:12 p.m. Whew! The curtain is held - I'm not the only audience member who ran into problems on the way to the theatre.

12:15 p.m. Wajdi Mouawad, who is the director today as well as the playwright, makes a cameo appearance, leading a parade of 21 cast members (there are three more backstage) across the stage.

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12:17 p.m. Littoral (Tideline), the first play of the day, originally written in 1997 and revised for this production, begins with the cast throwing buckets of white paint on a near-naked Emmanuel Schwartz. The tall and lanky Montreal actor plays the young hero, Wilfred, who has just learned of his father's death while having sex.

1 p.m. A final latecomer couple arrives just in time for a very funny scene in the funeral parlour with Wilfred's relatives, followed by the first shocking revelation of the night.

1:45 p.m. Wilfred leaves Montreal for his father's homeland and begins an Antigone-esque quest to find a place to bury him in a country where all the cemeteries are full. So far, I'm most impressed that the wonderful Schwartz has spent 20 minutes acting in a coffin full of water. (I hope it was heated.)

2:30 p.m. Wilfred has been collecting followers who have also lost their fathers on his quest. We're up to five now.

2:45 p.m. Just bury him already! This final scene by the edge of the water is torture for those of us who need a bathroom break.

3 p.m. Littoral ends to rock-concert-style screams from the balcony, where Mouawad's younger fans are mostly seated. My reaction: The first half of was wonderful, Mouawad's use of paint in the staging was beautiful, but the second half eventually became tiresome.

3:15 p.m. Montreal Gazette critic Pat Donnelly and I head out to nearby food court for a late lunch of - what else? - Lebanese food.

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4 p.m. Back in Théâtre Maissonneuve, Incendies (Scorched) begins. This is a more mature text (written in 2003) and Mouawad has directed it with a stark intensity.

4:30 p.m. After acclimatizing to the shift in mood, I've been pulled in. Twins Jeanne and Simon are on another bequested quest: Their mother, Nawal, has died and given them each letters to be delivered to a brother they didn't know existed and a father they thought was dead.

6 p.m. Still gripped. A couple of fantastic performances to highlight: Valeriy Pankov, frightening and funny, as a photographer/sniper who sings the Police; and grande dame of the Quebec stage Andrée Lachapelle showing great dignity as Nawad.

6:45 p.m. Incendies ends and, even though I knew what was coming all along, I'm devastated. What an incredible play. Talk on the way out of the theatre is of the upcoming film adaptation directed by Denis Villeneuve ( Polytechnique, Maelström).

7 p.m. I head to Sainte-Catherine Street to eat, well, sushi. There's only so much chicken shish taouk one can eat in a day.

8 p.m. Forêts (Forests), a 2006 play that will have its English-language premiere next season at Toronto's Tarragon Theatre, starts. With a coffee in my stomach and a lingering high from Incendies, my Mouawad mojo is back.

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8:20 p.m. Sixteen-year-old Loup (Marie-Eve Perron) reluctantly begins her quest: to solve the mystery of how a bone from the skull of a Nazi concentration-camp victim ended up in her late mother's head. Her story will take us through the Franco-Prussian War, two world wars and up to the Montreal Massacre of December, 1989.

9:15 p.m. Uh-oh, my Mouawad mojo is at dangerously low levels. Perron's Loup is lovable and the parts that take place in a zoo in the Ardennes forest during the First World War are creepy and compelling, but I just can't get into this one.

9:45 p.m. Surprise intermission! We all thought we were in this for three and a half hours straight. My spirits lift.

10:45 p.m. With the most complicated (or convoluted) plot, Forêts suffers from coming so late in the evening. With six generations of horrors to get through, it feels like a marathon of Wajdi Mouawad plays in and of itself.

11:30 p.m. Someone's about to be sent to a concentration camp, but my concentration is shot, so I'm basically just looking at the pictures.

11:50 p.m. It's over. More than 90 per cent of the audience has stayed for the whole 12 hours. We applaud for the impressive cast - and for our equally impressive endurance - for a good 10 minutes.

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12 a.m. Falling asleep on the cab ride home with the sense of accomplishment that comes only from sitting through three genealogical journeys, two pregnancies carried to term despite the health threat to the mother, at least three acts of incest and many, many acts of matricide, patricide and filicide in a single day. Mouawad's oeuvre deserves to be celebrated, but next time maybe over the span of a week or two?

Ciels, the fourth and final chapter of Le Sang des promesses, plays at the Festival TransAmériques until June 11 (www.fta.qc.ca).

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