`The Fig Tree' features Teresa Wright in a rare television role

The Fig Tree PBS, Saturday, 8-9 p.m. Starring: Teresa Wright, Doris Roberts, Karron Graves, William Converse-Roberts. Executive producer/director: Calvin Skaggs. Screenwriter: Stephanie Keys. A co-production of KERA Dallas/Fort Worth, and Denton & Lumi`ere Productions. Television's most innovative family-oriented dramatic series,``Wonderworks,'' launches its fourth season with a delicate pocket drama based mainly upon a slight but meaningful Katherine Anne Porter story about a child's growing awareness of the cycles of life.

It is acted with insightful sensitivity by a cast of skillful actors who manage to prevent the adaptation from becoming maudlin by probing for tender moments of understanding and deep recognition, rather than slam-bang climaxes.

The little girl who mourns the loss of her mother by celebrating each loss in her life with a ceremonial burial is played with subtle control by Karron Graves.

Teresa Wright, who is seldom seen on either television or movie screens these days, plays the girl's gruff grandmother with a kind of loving firmness that gives the whole hour a feeling of strength, courage, and optimism .

In an interview, Miss Wright told the Monitor: ``I hope children watch this program with their parents, but certainly either can watch it on their own and enjoy it.

``Children can learn how to deal with death and the fact that life goes on, that there is a life beyond this universe. Adults will enjoy the program on its most literary level.

``It can be a broadening experience for anybody who watches. Beyond the plot there is a picture of a way of life in the 1900s.''

Wright points out that the drama is based on more than one Porter short story.

``It's `The Fig Tree' with characters and texture from a lot of her Southwest stories,'' she says. ``Anybody who loves Katherine Anne Porter's work will find another, warmer side to her work in our adaptation.''

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