THE NEWLY formed Avalanche Theater Company is hyping its upcoming inaugural production of Sophocles' "Oedipus the King" by tying it in with the political tribulations of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry. The show opens July 11 at the Church Street Theatre (formerly American Playwrights Theatre) at 1742 Church St. NW.

This troupe, formed by five Georgetown grads, has its finger on the political pulse -- "Oedipus" will be following by Vaclav Havel's 1968 satire "The Memorandum." Call 333-8095.

LET'S DO the Time Warp again: Woolly Mammoth artistic director Howard Shalwitz says the theater will kick-start its fall season with a production of "The Rocky Horror Show," the camp sci-fi musical that inspired the ultimate midnight movie, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

After a nine-year run at the Key Theatre, "Rocky Horror" has been absent from area screens since 1986; it's not available on video yet, so cultists and participatory theater fans should start saving up rice, squirt guns and toast -- Woolly will do some late night shows.

Woolly's annual out-there summer rep is up and running, with Constance Congdon's "Tales of the Lost Formicans," already open, and "Hurlyburly," David Rabe's messy epic of Hollywood angst, which opens June 29. Call 393-3939 . . .

AND THIS just in: A troupe called Wee Wee Ennui (a collective of actors that seems to change its name with every show) is producing Ernest Hemingway's only play, "The Fifth Column," at -- where else? -- the Fifth Column nightclub.

Director Chris Mrozowsksi says the play will be performed in "SensoDrama," thanks to the club. "The club has an incredible sound system, which will rattle the seats during the war scenes, plus video projection capability, and a period bar for the set. So you'll have things coming at you from all sides, from four corners and above."

Shows are Saturday and Sunday (and June 30 and July 1) at 7:30 at 915 F St. NW; admission $5. Call 393-3632.