In early 2012, 75 actors and one theater director named Gary Tyler, all inmates at Angola Prison and Louisiana Correctional Institution for Women, came together to put on the performance of their lives. The cast and crew, made up of murderers and robbers, thieves and prostitutes, and no doubt a few wrongly convicted, prepared two years to put on a public performance of the life of Jesus Christ in the largest prison production of a Passion Play ever. CAST THE FIRST STONE is a feature documentary about the most powerful and popular story in history.
Amnesty International inmate Gary Tyler was the youngest person in the US on death row at the age of 16 in Louisiana in 1974, sentenced for a crime he did not commit. In April of this year Gary was released from Angola after 41 1/2 years in Angola Prison. Warden Darrell Vannoy wept as he walked Gary to the prison gates. He was happy for Gary’s release, and yet sad because the prison was losing a man who had helped transform the prison and many inmates. Gary did many things in prison. He did 17 years as a hospice volunteer and was often the last person with an inmate as his soul passed over. Gary also led the drama club for over twenty years. When the play “The Life of Jesus Christ” was brought to the prison there was only one person who could pull off such a production: Gary Tyler. One of Gary’s conditions was that he must have women playing the women’s roles. This required recruiting the help of the Louisiana Institute for Women and sending a bus 50 miles down the Mississippi River every day to pick them up. This had NEVER happened in the US, but the warden agreed. You will watch as Gary casts the play and takes inmates through rehearsals and the production. You will see key roles played by inmates serving life without parole. Prepare to be moved.